Belize was the only country in Central America that hadn’t reported local transmission of Zika virus, but now that appears to have changed.
One week ago, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) contacted the Belize Ministry of Health (MOH) concerning possible Zika transmission in a US resident with travel to the Central American country.
The CDC reported that, “The patient is an adult female resident who traveled to Belize from 14 -19 March 2016. She had onset of fever and rash on 23 March, 2016. Zika virus RT-PCR was positive on serum at the health department of the state. The patient reported no other recent travel history and there was no evidence of possible sexual transmission.”
Over the weekend, the MOH conducted a field investigation based on the reported case of Zika and revealed two local potential cases. Samples were sent to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) for testing.
As recently as Wednesday, Director of Health Services, Dr Marvin Manzanero said local transmission has not been confirmed: “We don’t have any Zika confirmed cases; I am unable to say that we have Zika. We don’t have any confirmed cases of Zika but we could have and that is what we are trying to find out; we are trying to cover all our bases.”
On Thursday, the World Health Organization added Belize to it’s list of countries reporting vector-borne Zika transmission. However, the Situation Report is footnoted–Mosquito-borne autochthonous transmission is very likely, but still under investigation.
Confirmation testing should be complete very soon.