Zika Virus Cases Epidemic In Cuba

Zika virus (ZIKV) is a member of the virus family Flaviviridae; it is spreading by daytime-active Aedes mosquitoes, such as A. aegypti and A. albopictus. Zika virus spread throughout Latin America between 2015 and 2016, followed by a decrease in the number of new cases.

Cuba, however, was one of the last countries to report cases; the first autochthonous case was confirming in March 2016; and recent data indicate that an outbreak with over 600 reported cases occurred mid-2017 in Cienfuegos. This outbreak was reflecting in a study initiated by Hospital Clinic in 2016; with the aim of detecting importing cases of Zika and other mosquito-borne viral diseases (which are part of arboviral diseases).

Zika virus cases

Over a period of almost three years, the Tropical Medicine Service detected 42 imported cases of Zika. While in 2016, Zika-infected travellers had visited different countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, the cases diagnosed from ends of 2017 onwards only came from Cuba.

These cases could reflect an absence of herd immunity in the Cuban population, as well as the possibility of it being one of the last places in America with ongoing virus transmission; these resulting underscore the need to consider possible Zika infection among travellers returning from Cuba. Only in 2016, there are more than one million European travellers visiting in the island.

Possible Zika infection

But however, cuba was one of the last countries to reporting cases; the first autochthonous case was confirmed in March 2016; and recent data indicate that an outbreak with over 600 reporting cases occurring mid-2017 in Cienfuegos. ISGlobal researcher; and Head of the Tropical Medicine Service at the Hospital Clínic; these results underscore the need to consider possible Zika infection among travellers returning from Cuba.

It is also important to note that 70% of the travellers that got infected with Zika did not seek advice before their trip;” adds Muñoz, highlighting that the imported diseases clinics are “a key element to survey and prevent the introduction of these diseases in non-endemic regions. But cases can reflect an absence of the herd immunity in the Cuban population; with ongoing virus transmission,” explains Alex Almuedo, first author of the study.