Czech health minister gives assurances, advice, after first Zika cases
The Zika virus was first identified in humans in Nigeria in the mid-1950s and there have been minor outbreaks of the disease in Africa, Southeast Asia and the Pacific Island since. But the current outbreak, which started in Brazil in April last year, spread rapidly, with the first cases reaching Europe in January this year.
“The cases concern tourists who returned home about two weeks ago from areas affected. The man stayed in Martinique since the end of January to mid-February and the woman was in the Dominican Republic. Both showed unspecified flu symptoms typical of the disease, including rash. They were both treated at Prague’s Bulovka hospital and the laboratory tests confirmed the presence of the virus. However, due to their good condition, both were released for home treatment.”
The test for the Zika virus is currently carried out at the National Institute of Public Health’s laboratory in Ostrava. In the near future the tests will also be available in Prague and Ústí nad Labem.
The minister stressed that there was no need to take any special preventive measures, since the infection was not airborne and the cases were imported and were unlikely to spread in the Czech Republic. The head of the hospital’s infection department, Hana Roháčová, specified what measures should be taken in case a person returns from the affected regions:
The Health Minister has also repeated his recommendation for Czech tourists not to travel to the regions affected by the disease.