Cuban health officials reported today on the island’s first imported Zika virus case. The patient was a 28-year-old doctor from Aragua State, Venezuela who arrived on Feb. 21.


According to a Cuba Ministry of Health press release (computer translated), the patient presented with the symptoms of fever, rash on the face and trunk and joint pain and was admitted at the Institute of Tropical Medicine Pedro Kouri.

Health officials note that the patient’s spouse was diagnosed with Zika two months ago and a brother that contracted the virus just prior to the trip to Cuba.

Initial testing on the patient was negative for Zika and later repeated and turned out positive.

Earlier this week, The Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Dr. Carissa F. Etienne, is in Cuba this week for an official visit that will include meetings with health authorities and other high-level officials.

On Feb. 29, Etienne met with Minister of Public Health Roberto Morales Ojeda to discuss Cuba’s health achievements as well as challenges facing its health system. Etienne is also scheduled to meet with Minister of Foreign Relations Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla.

The visit is taking place at the same time as the annual meeting of PAHO representatives in Central America, Cuba, Mexico and the Dominican Republic, where discussions are focusing on PAHO’s technical cooperation in these countries, including assistance with the response to the ongoing Zika epidemic.