WHO confirms first Zika case in Virgin Islands

The WHO recently updated its information concerning the Zika virus in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has updated its information concerning cases of the Zika virus in the U.S. Virgin Islands. 

The Virgin Islands reported its first confirmed case of the virus on Jan. 26.

The confirmation of the case came on Jan. 22 when a resident of the island of St. Croix developed symptoms including rash, conjunctivitis, arthralgia and fever. The patient hadn’t traveled for three weeks before the arrival of symptoms.

WHO recently issued a public health warning on the Zika virus, as it continues to spread in Latin America. The virus is known to cause microcephaly, which causes unusually small heads in newborns, so pregnant mothers are especially at risk. WHO has urged pregnant travelers not to travel to Latin America.

WHO Director-General Margaret Chan called an emergency committee to determine the threat of the illness. The committee found the threat to be of significance to public health, which led to the warning announcement.

“In their view, a coordinated international response is needed to minimize the threat in affected countries and reduce the risk of further international spread,” Chan said. “Members of the committee agreed that the situation meets the conditions for a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. I have accepted this advice.”

The best way to defeat or defend against the mosquito-borne illness is to eliminate mosquito breeding areas, such as pools of water. It is best to prevent mosquitoes by stopping them in the larvae stage. Insecticides are useful for killing already-born mosquitoes.

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