After denying the presence of Zika virus in the country, Deputy Health Minister Eduardo Espinoza stated that they are investigating nine suspect cases, according to a La Página report (computer translated).

El Salvador/CIA
El Salvador/CIA

Espinoza said the samples were sent to laboratories in the United States for confirmation of the new disease.

He stated that none of El Salvador’s neighbors have reported cases and that the symptoms overlapped with other mosquito borne viruses found in the country–chikungunya and dengue.

Indigenous circulation of Zika virus in the Region of the Americas was first seen in 2014 when in February 2014, Chile health authorities confirmed the first case of indigenous transmission of infection by Zika virus in Easter Island.

Subsequently, in May 2015, the public health authorities of Brazil confirmed indigenous transmission of Zika virus in the northeast. More recently, Colombia health authorities reported the detection of the first indigenous case of Zika virus infection in the state of Bolivar.

Zika virus is a flavivirus related to yellow fever, dengue, West Nile, and Japanese encephalitis viruses; however, ZIKV produces a comparatively mild disease in humans. It was first isolated from an infected rhesus monkey in the Zika Forest of Uganda in 1947.

Until recently, it was relatively rare to see ZIKV outside of Africa and Asia. The virus is transmitted to humans via mosquitoes of the genus Aedes.

Information regarding pathogenesis of ZIKV is scarce but mosquito-borne flaviviruses are thought to replicate initially in dendritic cells near the site of inoculation then spread to lymph nodes and the bloodstream.

Symptoms may include a headache, a maculopapular rash covering the face, neck, trunk, and upper arms,which may spread to the palms and soles. Transient fever, malaise, and back pain may also develop.

Robert Herriman is a microbiologist and the Editor-in-Chief of Outbreak News Today and the Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch

Follow @bactiman63