South Africa’s first reported Zika Virus Case
Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi says it’s not necessary to isolate a businessman who presented South Africa’s first case of the Zika virus, as the disease isn’t spread by human contact. The Colombian man was confirmed to have contracted the virus a few days after his arrival in South Africa. The Health Department says his blood samples have been delivered to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) for further testing.
Motsoaledi says there is no need for the public to panic as there is no imminent threat of an outbreak. “For that Columbian businessman to spread Zika in South Africa, he would have been bitten by a mosquito called Aedes aegypti and then that mosquito would bite another South African and it would start spreading. Now at the present moment in South Africa, we don’t have that species.”
The department’s spokesperson Joe Maila says the patient presented himself with a rash and a fever after arriving in the country, but has since recovered. “The person is fully recovered. All we’re doing is to make sure that indeed we check whether it was the Zika virus, because that’s what the NICD must conserve with the laboratory that has done the test.” The mosquito-borne virus has caused much concern with an increasing number of infections being reported in Brazil and in other parts of the Americas.
Government says it has put measures in place to protect South Africa’s ports of entry from any possible infiltration of the Zika-carrying mosquito sub-species. The Department of Health has confirmed the country’s first Zika casebut says the patient a Colombian businessman appears to have contracted the virus outside South Africa. The man was diagnosed after he presented himself to doctors in Johannesburg with a rash and fever.
It’s understood he acquired the infection in the South American country before travelling. The businessman’s blood samples have been taken to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), for further tests. Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi says there’s no cause for panic. He says officials are doing all they can to safeguard against the Zika-transmitting mosquito. “All the aircrafts leaving countries that are infected like South America, the aircrafts have been sprayed inside, to make sure that it doesn’t carry it. We are doing the same thing with other ports of entry.”
WHO ISSUES $56 MILLION PLAN TO COMBAT ZIKA VIRUS
The World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Wednesday that $56 million were needed to combat the Zika virus until June, including for the fast-tracking of vaccines, diagnostics and research studies into how it spreads.
The funds, including $25 million for the WHO and its regional office, would also be used to control the mosquito-borne virus that has spread to 39 countries, including 34 in the Americas, and has been linked to birth defects in Brazil.
“Possible links with neurological complications and birth malformations have rapidly changed the risk profile for Zika from a mild threat to one of very serious proportions,” WHO director-general Margaret Chan said in the WHO Strategic Response Framework and Joint Operations Plan issued in Geneva.
The WHO expects the funds to come from member states and other donors and said that in the meantime it has tapped a new emergency contingency fund for $2 million to finance its initial operations. Chan will travel to Brazil from 22-24 February to review Zika-related measures supported by WHO and will meet the health minister, a WHO spokeswoman said. The United Nations health agency declared the Zika outbreak a global public health emergency on 1 February, noting its association with two neurological disorders, microcephaly in babies and Guillain-Barre syndrome that can cause paralysis.
Brazil is investigating the potential link between Zika infections and more than 4,300 suspected cases of microcephaly, a condition marked by abnormally small head size that can result in developmental problems. Researchers have confirmed more than 460 of these cases as microcephaly and identified evidence of Zika infection in 41 of these cases, but have not proven that Zika can cause microcephaly. The WHO noted that “existing scarce evidence indicates that there may be a risk of sexual transmission” of Zika virus, as well as a risk of it persisting in semen and urine.
The South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) says it has adopted an open and honest approach to communicating with South African athletes on the threat of the Zika virus ahead of the Rio Olympics.
The body says it is as concerned as the rest of the world about the risk of infection at the summer Olympic Games in August. Precautionary measures have already been issued to athletes and officials.
On Friday, the Department of Health confirmed South Africa’s first case of Zika infection, but insists there is no immediate threat of a breakout in the country. The department announced that a Colombian businessman visiting the country was found to have the virus, which he is believed to have contracted before entering the country. Sascoc president Gideon Sam says the open approach has helped quell any anxiety among athletes.
“When you keep information away from these athletes they have all these ideas. We are guiding them and we have no concerns, we are very straightforward.”
Peport from : EWN News – ewn.co.za