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News > Latin America

Cuba Records First Case of Zika Virus

  • A Cuban military reservist fumigates inside a home in Havana Feb. 22, 2016.

    A Cuban military reservist fumigates inside a home in Havana Feb. 22, 2016. | Photo: Reuters

Published 2 March 2016

The island nation has deployed 9,000 soldiers as part of a mass fumigation effort aimed at preventing the further spread of the virus.

Cuba reported its first case of the Zika virus on Wednesday after a 28-year old Venezuelan doctor, whose husband and brother-in-law previously contracted the virus in their home country, was diagnosed with the mosquito-borne illness.

The carrier arrived in Cuba on Feb. 21 to take a postgraduate course in medicine along with 37 others. She reported a fever a day later and was diagnosed with Zika on Monday.

She was recovering well in hospital, the Health Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday. Her husband was diagnosed with the Zika virus two months ago and her brother two weeks before she traveled, the statement said.

The island nation had yet to register a case of the virus on its shores, with the government taking a series of preventative steps to limit the possibility of an outbreak.

NEWS: Cuba Deploys Army in Battle to Avoid Zika Virus 

As teleSUR reported last month, Cuban President Raul Castro has called on the Cuban population to help eradicate the mosquitoes that carry the Zika virus and ordered 9,000 soldiers to carry out a mass fumigation effort.

The World Health Organization declared the Zika virus an international health emergency on Feb. 1 due to its suspected link to the birth defect microcephaly, which causes newborns to have abnormally small heads and developmental limitations.

WHO expects to confirm the link between Zika, which has been sweeping its way across the Americas since late last year, and the birth defect in the next four to six months.

The virus also has links to the rare Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare neurological condition that has affected scores in Latin America.

Brazil, where the latest outbreak of the virus began, is the most affected country, recording 1.5 million cases of Zika and 580 cases of microcephaly.

VIDEO: Media Analysis: Zika

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