French Polynesia reports Zika virus outbreak

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control was notified by Public Health Authorities in French Polynesia on Nov. 6 that an outbreak of sub-febrile and eruptive syndrome due to Zika virus infection has emerged.

More than 400 cases of Zika virus infection were reported between the onset of the outbreak and October 30. The cases are isolated in three archipelagos of French Polynesia, which include the Tuamotu, Society and Marquesas islands. All cases that have been reported to date are mild.

Infection was confirmed through sequencing the virus from three early cases. The infection is said to be spreading quickly; all age groups and genders are affected.

French Polynesian health officials have begun clinical surveillance of febrile eruptive syndrome across community and health care facilities of the archipelagos in an attempt to control the outbreak and prevent the further spread of infection. Along with epidemiological surveillance, the local health officials of French Polynesia implemented vector control measures to stop the spread of infection.

Zika virus infections cause mild and short-term febrile illness in its victims. Infected persons may experience conjunctivitis and a macula-papular rash, with no hemorrhagic symptoms.

Treatment is purely symptomatic. It is believed that the zika virus is carried by Aedes mosquitoes.