Updated 06:28 PM EST, Thu, Nov 26, 2020

Puerto Rico Acquires First Zika Virus Case

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Health authorities in Puerto Rico reported the nation's first confirmed case of the mosquito-borne virus, known as Zika.

In a statement, Puerto Rican Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi was informed by the Centers for Disease Control‎ and Prevention (CDC) of the confirmed case of Zika on the island.

"I wanted to inform the public that my office just spoke with officials from Centers for Disease Control‎ and Prevention (CDC), who advised us that the first locally-transmitted case of Zika virus has been confirmed in Puerto Rico," his statement read.

Actions to be taken by the Puerto Rican authorities, as well as the CDC, were also revealed in the statement, dated December 31, 2015.

"I expect that the CDC will issue a public advisory later this afternoon, and the Puerto Rico Department of Health will hold a press conference to explain Zika and its potential symptoms. I also expect that CDC experts will travel to Puerto Rico in early January to educate local physicians on Zika, so they can properly diagnose and treat the virus," it read.

Pierluisi assured the public that there is no reason for alarm and called for precautionary measures to be made against the virus, which is known to be transmitted by a certain species of mosquito.

Since its source is similar to dengue fever and chikungunya, prevention of the spread of the Zika virus entails using mosquito repellents and wearing clothing that covers exposed skin, particularly in the extremities.

So far, there is no vaccine tested and approved to prevent the virus, but the public is advised to learn about its signs and symptoms, which include fever, joint pain, rash, and conjunctivitis or red eyes.

The official website of the CDC also listed other symptoms of the virus, like muscle pain, headache, pain behind the eyes and vomiting.

Symptoms are usually mild with a very small chance of getting so severe that it would require hospitalization.

Official records of the CDC also revealed that only one out of five patients who caught the Zika virus had become ill. No deaths involving the virus have been recorded yet. 

Treatments for those who catch Zika include rehydration, rest and taking medication for the symptoms, such as acetaminophen or paracetamol for a fever and body pain.

According to CNN, the Zika virus has been linked to over 2,400 cases of the severe neurological disorder known as microcephaly among newborns. Cases of this were recorded in Brazil in early 2015, where babies were born with abnormally small heads, which often led to severe medical conditions and even early death.

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