BELIZE CITY, Wed. Nov. 25, 2015–Earlier this month Caribbean health authorities announced that the first confirmed cases of the Zika Virus had been found in CARICOM—news which sent the region on high alert for the emerging disease transmitted by the same mosquito which transmits dengue and Chikungunya.
While the name of the country (or countries) where the 5 Zika cases had been detected was not revealed, this week health authorities in Belize confirmed that the Zika virus is closer to Belize than previously thought.
A report coming out of Mexico last Tuesday announced that a 26-year-old who had traveled to Colombia, where other Zika cases had been detected, had returned home with Zik V, and next door in Guatemala, another case was confirmed. This is significant, since Belize is bordered to the north by Mexico and to the west and south by Guatemala.
Mexican authorities say that the possibility of Zika cases spreading in that country within the coming weeks and months is high.
Last Monday the Belize Ministry of Health issued an advisory saying that it is preparing for the introduction of this disease based on the most recent experience with Chikungunya, which spread throughout the Caribbean and the Americas, including Belize, within less than one year.
Zik V symptoms—fever, muscle and joint pain, headache, nausea, vomiting and rash—last approximately four to seven days, and are similar to dengue and Chikungunya.
The measures to prevent contracting the virus are the same: wearing long-sleeved clothing or long pants, using insect repellents and sleeping under mosquito nets, the Ministry of Health said.