Madeira flags first suspected case of Zika virus passed through sexual transmission

Tests are still ongoing in Portugal’s Institute Dr Ricardo Jorge to confirm the country’s first suspected case of Zika virus passed through sexual transmission.

As RTP news reported over the weekend, Portugal is already on the list of countries affected by the Zika virus and the ‘vector mosquito” (Aedes aegypti) exists in Madeira, though in a “reduced scale”.

To date, 14 people have been confirmed as suffering from the virus though, until now, all appear to have contracted it when travelling in Brazil (with one case resulting from a trip to Colombia).

What alerted Madeiran health authorities last week, however, was the case of a woman infected on the island after sex with her partner who arrived home from a trip in Brazil showing no symptoms.

If the new tests confirm these findings, it will enforce the concern over the longevity of the virus within people’s systems.

Men who have travelled to Brazil are thus being encouraged to use condoms for “at least a month after returning” – and if they think they may have been bitten by a mosquito carrying the virus, they are advised to use condoms for as long as six months.

Meantime, the woman believed to have contracted the virus has been treated in hospital and is reacting favourably.

A second woman in Madeira was also treated in hospital for Zika virus last week, and her situation is also thought to be linked to Brazil as she recently returned from a trip there.

The president of the archipelago’s health administration, Ana Nunes, has confirmed there is a programme of prevention and control in place and “no cause for alarm”, adds Sábado.

But Zika has been causing worldwide alarm as it is thought to be linked with horrific birth defects (microcephaly) and neurological problems (Guillain Barré syndrome), though concrete proof of this has still to be established.

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