SAN JUAN – Jamaica on Sunday is investigating the source of contagion for a 4-year-old boy who tested positive for the Zika virus, which is spreading rapidly through the Americas and particularly threatens pregnant women.
The Jamaican government confirmed in a communique that the boy is recovering well and denied that other members of his family are showing any symptoms of the virus.
Local authorities in Portmore, Santa Catalina – where the boy lives – have increased their prevention and detection efforts regarding the Aedes aegypti mosquito that transmits the virus, the same insect that transmits dengue fever and Chikungunya.
Analysis of blood samples from the boy sent to the Carpha public health laboratory tested positive for Zika on Friday but the government did not announce the results until Saturday.
The boy began showing symptoms of Zika on Jan. 17 after returning from a trip to Texas.
The Jamaican Health Ministry will provide more information at a Monday press conference, where – as it has done in the past – it will probably urge pregnant women to take precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.
Although no conclusive link has been established, some evidence appears to show that Zika in pregnant women can lead to microcephaly and other conditions in their babies.
Zika has also been linked to Guillain-Barre Syndrome, which attacks the nervous system and in some cases can cause paralysis, muscular weakness and even death.
The World Health Organization says that between three and four million people may wind up being affected by the current outbreak of Zika in the Americas, although most of those people will show no serious symptoms and get better on their own.
No vaccine or specific treatment for Zika exists at present.