PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC) – Trinidad and Tobago on Wednesday confirmed its first case of the mosquito-borne Zika virus saying that the 61-year-old victim had recently travelled to New Zealand.
Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh, speaking at a Rapid Response mosquito eradication exercise said “the first case of the Zika virus was confirmed.
“Laboratory (tests) confirmed the case (through) CARPHA (The Caribbean Public Health Agency). A 61-year-old female who recently travelled to New Zealand”.
He said New Zealand is not known to have Zika cases, and how the woman contracted the virus was unknown.
Deyalsingh said this case was being thoroughly investigated and that the area where the unidentified woman lives would be “looked at”.
“She would be looked at to make sure she recovers properly from the virus,” he said, adding that the woman first exhibited symptoms on February 10 and two days later a sample was taken and sent for testing by CARPHA.
“What you do not want from Zika is panic. Please keep it in perspective. The comment ‘if Zika reach the area, we will die’ please! This is a non-political issue! I plead not to make it a political statement geared to create fear and panic. Please let us keep our heads on to eliminate this,” the Health Minister said, adding that virus needs to be attacked on the ground level, with a public education and clean-up campaign.
“I am appeal to everyone. Do not create unnecessary panic. The comment of Zika take you, you going to die, is absolutely not true,” he added.
Several Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries, including Barbados, Guyana and Suriname have al recorded cases of the virus which the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared an international public health emergency.