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Zika cases drop to 1

Shayal Devi
Saturday, March 03, 2018

THE number of Zika cases in Fiji decreased from 45 in 2016 to one last year, says Health and Medical Services Minister Rosy Akbar.

Speaking at the launch of the Fiji Zika Prevalence and Climate Change Study Project 2018-2019 in Nadi yesterday, Ms Akbar said the decline in infected persons showed that the ministry was doing something right.

"Fiji is moving in the right direction when it comes to curbing Zika and this is shown by the decreasing number of positive cases," she said.

Ms Akbar added it was important for people to know that Zika was not a new disease.

"It was first isolated from a rhesus monkey in the Zika forest of Entebbe in 1947.

"The disease is characterised by various symptoms such as skin rashes, mild fever, conjunctivitis, pain in muscles, with the symptoms lasting up to seven days.

"Notably, cases about the disease have been silent until recently, when panic around its resurgence began in 2016.

"As I stand here, Zika viral infection is prevalent in almost all continents. The first outbreak in America was reported in May 2015 in Brazil."

She said statistics had estimated that more than 120 million people in Brazil were at risk of infection by the virus, making Brazil the most affected country as it reported the most cases globally.

"Zika virus has continued to be prevalent in most of the tropical and sub-tropical countries in Africa, Asia, the Pacific Islands and the Americas.

"Notably, Fiji and Samoa remain the only Pacific states where Zika infection cases have been detected."

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