HAVANA – Cuban authorities have confirmed the first instance of a person infected with the Zika virus inside the country, where all four previous reported cases involved people who contracted the virus in Venezuela.
The patient, a 21-year-old Havana woman with no history of foreign travel, began showing symptoms, including headache, eye pain, weakness and conjunctivitis on March 7, the Health Ministry said in a statement read on state television.
She visited a doctor two days later and was referred to a hospital.
A blood test performed at the Pedro Kouri Institute for Tropical Medicine resulted positive for the Zika virus and the patient remains hospitalized without symptoms, according to the statement.
Zika was earlier detected in three Cuban professionals – a nurse, a technician and an engineer – who returned to the island from Venezuela and in a Venezuelan physician who traveled to Cuba for a postgraduate course.
Cuba recently initiated an action plan to deal with the Zika, dengue and Chikungunya viruses.
The program includes 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.