HAVANA – The Zika virus has been detected in Cuba for the first time, the Public Health Ministry said on Wednesday, identifying the patient as a 28-year-old Venezuelan physician who acquired the infection in her homeland.
The woman arrived in the island on Feb. 21 for a post-graduate course in gastroenterology and was residing under routine preventive quarantine at the Students Residence of Machurrucutu in Artemisa province, along with 37 other physicians.
She was admitted to the Pedro Kouri Tropical Medicine Institute on Feb. 24, two days after presenting with a mild fever, a rash on her face and torso, and joint pain.
The Venezuelan woman underwent two tests for Zika and the second came back positive.
Since her admission to the hospital, the doctor has been free of fever and her skin rash has begun to heal.
The patient said her husband had Zika two months ago and that her brother-in-law was ill with the virus two weeks before she left for Cuba.
None of the other doctors under quarantine has shown any symptoms of illness.
In recent weeks, Cuba has implemented an action plan to deal with the Zika, dengue and Chikungunya viruses, including deploying more than 9,000 soldiers and police to fumigate homes and workplaces in an effort to wipe out the Aedes aegypti mosquito that carries all three viruses.