Dr Kenneth Darroux and mosquito
Dr Kenneth Darroux and mosquito

Dominica has its first case of Zika virus infection, the Minister of Health Dr. Kenneth Darroux announced this evening.

"This confirmed case does not have any history of travelling outside of Dominica in the recent past and constitutes a locally transmitted (autochthonous) case," Dr. Darroux said in a statement on State-owned DBS radio.

Dr. Darroux said the patient has since recovered and apparently did not infect anyone.

"To date, a total of thirteen samples have been tested for Zika virus with only one being positive," he said.

Dr. Darroux added: "There is no need for alarm. I repeat. There is no need for alarm".

Zika virus has spread to 36 countries in the Americas and the Caribbean including the neighbouring islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique, Dr. Darroux said, adding that the virus "has been associated with an increase in cases of microcephaly in Brazil, leading the experts at the World Health Organization to strongly suspect a relationship between Zika infection during pregnancy and microcephaly as well as the neurological disorders i.e. Guillain Barre´, Meningoencephalitis, amongst others".

"Microcephaly is a rare condition where a baby's head circumference is less than expected based on the average for their age and sex .The Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) is a sickness of the nervous system in which a person's own immune system damages the nerve cells, causing muscle weakness, and sometimes, paralysis," Dr. Darroux said.

"Although the Zika virus disease is mainly transmitted by the Aedes Aegypti, a number of other transmission modes are still under investigation, such as sexual transmission and people with Zika virus disease usually have a mild fever, skin rash (exanthema), and conjunctivitis which usually last for 2-7 days.

"At present, there is no specific treatment or vaccine available. Thus the best form of prevention is protection against mosquito bites and persons who have fever, rash and conjunctivitis are advised to report to the nearest health centre or their personal health care provider".