One month after Brazilian media reported on a number of Zika virus infections in Bahia state and elsewhere, the Dominican Republic news source, El Nueve Diario (computer translated) is reporting the first case of the mosquito borne viral infection on the island nation.
The report states a 12-year-old girl from Puerto Plata contracted the virus and is currently hospitalized in a private clinic in the city.
In addition, earlier this week The Epidemiological Surveillance Department of Roraima, Brazil confirmed Zika virus in a 22 year old man.
In early 2014, the first locally acquired transmission of Zika virus in the Americas was reported on Easter Island, according to the Chilean Ministry of Health.
Zika fever is caused by the Zika virus (ZIKAV), an arbovirus the flavivirus genus (family Flaviviridae), very close phylogenetically to viruses such as dengue, yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis, or West Nile virus.
The Zika virus is transmitted by mosquitoes of the genus Aedes, in urban areas (A. aegypti) as well as in the wild. After an infected mosquito bite, the disease symptoms usually appear following an incubation period of three to twelve days.
The infection may present itself as asymptomatic or with a moderate clinical picture; no fatal cases have been detected to date. In symptomatic cases, with moderate disease, the symptoms appear acutely and include fever, non-purulent conjunctivitis, headache, myalgia and arthralgia, asthenia, maculopapular rash, edema in the lower limbs and less frequently, retro-orbital pain, anorexia, vomiting, diarrhea, or abdominal pain. Thesymptoms last for 4-7 days and are self-limiting.
Complications (neurological, autoimmune) are rare and have only been identified in the epidemic in French Polynesia.
To date, no death attributed to Zika virus infection has been reported in any of the outbreaks.