Retrospective testing for Zika virus of samples taken from patients presenting with a febrile illness between July 2014 and March 2016 in Papua New Guinea reveal local transmission of the virus, according to a World Health Organization (WHO) report.
Six cases of Zika virus infection had been confirmed by polymerase chain reaction (PCR).
The details include:
- no Zika virus positive results were identified among 64 samples tested in 2014,
- 1 sample collected during a malaria outbreak in Morobe in May 2015 (a total of 34 samples were tested),
- 2 samples collected during a dengue outbreak in Western province in December 2015 (a total of 21 samples were tested), and
- 3 samples collected during a dengue outbreak in Kiunga in February 2016 (a total of 60 samples were tested).
None of the patients positive for Zika virus had travelled outside Papua New Guinea prior to their illness.
Various methods of public awareness have been implemented in Papua New Guinea to include a press release, radio, TV, newspaper articles and posters to inform the public of the situation, raise awareness and provide measures for preventing mosquito bites and clean-up of mosquito breeding sites.
WHO says the report is important because it provides evidence on the circulation of Zika virus infection in Papua New Guinea in recent years. Although the results of the investigation suggest low levels of Zika virus transmission, the possibility of the occurrence of new cases in Papua New Guinea cannot be ruled out.
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