Jamaica reports its first case of Zika virus

Saturday, January 30, 2016
By Paul Martin

Doug Stanglin
January 30, 2016

Jamaican health officials confirmed the Caribbean nation’s first case of the Zika virus Saturday in a 4-year-old child who recently returned from a trip to Texas.

The child, who has now recovered, began showing symptoms Jan. 17 after visiting the U.S. state, Jamaica’s Ministry of Health said in a statement.

It’s unclear whether the child picked up the virus in Jamaica or Texas. The ministry said it is investigating the case to determine the source of the infection.

The virus has been associated with a sharp jump in the birth of babies with abnormally small heads, mainly in Brazil. It is also linked to increases in Guillain-Barre syndrome, in which the immune system attacks the nervous system, causing paralysis.

Jamaican Health Minister Horace Dalley said in the statement that the child’s parents and family have been contacted and briefed by a team from the ministry. No other family members are ill at this time, according to the statement, first reported by Nationwide Radio’s Abka Fitz-Henley.

Dalley said he plans to provide a full update on the case Monday.

The mosquito-borne infection has been detected in some 24 countries and territories in the Americas since Brazil reported its first case in May, Margaret Chan, director general of the World Health Organization (WHO) said this week.

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