Caribbean Zika-free

This item appears on page 59 of the December 2018 issue.

On Oct. 23, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that it was removing the Caribbean region from its Zika-country-classification list after studies from the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) found that no Caribbean nation had reported a new case of Zika since February 2017, indicating that the circulation of the virus in the region has been interrupted.

Authorities in the US, Canada and the UK confirmed that no Zika had been detected in travelers returning from the Caribbean for more than 12 months.

Zika is spread via the bites of mosquitoes in the Aedes genus, which become carriers of the virus only after feeding from a host that is infected with the virus. Symptoms include low fever and joint pain, but many infections produce no symptoms. However, in fetuses, infections can cause serious birth defects. Because the virus can remain transmissible for up to six months after infection, it is recommended that couples who are pregnant or who plan to become pregnant avoid areas with active Zika.