Zika virus now confirmed in St. Vincent and the Grenadines

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KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Wednesday February 24, 2016 – St. Vincent and the Grenadines has joined the list of Caribbean countries where the mosquito-borne Zika virus has been confirmed.

Minister of Health Senator Luke Browne made the disclosure in Parliament yesterday evening.

The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) in Trinidad and Tobago confirmed the infection.

Browne, who said the confirmation was received just yesterday, did not provide any details about the individual who had contracted Zika. He said the individual has since fully recovered from the illness.

Several Caribbean islands are among 29 in the Americas that have reported cases of Zika, which is suspected to be linked to microcephaly, a rare condition in which a baby’s brain and head are underdeveloped, as well as Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS). GBS is a condition in which the immune system attacks the nervous system, sometimes resulting in paralysis.

Six territories – Brazil, French Polynesia, El Salvador, Venezuela, Colombia and Suriname – have reported an increase in the incidence of cases of microcephaly and/or GBS following a Zika virus outbreak.

Microcephaly has so far been reported only from Brazil and French Polynesia. Puerto Rico and Martinique have also reported cases of GBS associated with Zika virus infection, but without evidence of an overall increase in the incidence of GBS.

The Pan American Health Organization says evidence that neurological disorders, including microcephaly and GBS, are linked to Zika virus infection remains circumstantial, but a growing body of clinical and epidemiological data possibly leans towards a causal role for Zika virus.

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