Zika is an RNA virus disease which is spread by Ae aegypti (or Ae albopictus), but the former, so well adapted to life in the tropics is likely to be the major transmitter of the disease in our region. The disease is accompanied by symptoms which last 2-7 days and are fever, headache, conjunctivitis, malaise and muscle/Joint/Back Pain.
The disease was shown to be present in virtually every CMS by August 2016 (CARPHA Zika Update #3). Virtually everyone in the Region now knows of the special potential impact on the unborn child with the risk of, microcephaly and congenital anomalies. This makes it a fearsome disease to be acquired during pregnancy. Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) is also reported to be one of the adverse events which accompany Zika virus infection.
In the Americas it was first recorded in Brazil by 2015 and by later that year, there was transmission of Zika in Central America and the Caribbean. By August 2016, some 42 countries in the Americas reported locally transmitted cases, and some 20 countries in the CARPHA countries (CARPHA Zika Update, 2016). This quick spread indicates how important the travel industry was in introducing VBD viruses from country to country!