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Zika Virus Infection in Cape Verde (Update)

17 Feb 2016

The Ministry of Health has reported a downward trend in new suspected Zika virus infections over the last 6 weeks in Cape Verde. Currently the islands of Santiago and Fogo are reporting the highest number of cases.

Since the outbreak began in October 2015, until 31 January 2016, a total of 7325 suspected cases have been reported; the number of confirmed cases has not been mentioned in this report.

During the first week of February 2016, a total of 67 new suspected cases were recorded from the following areas: Sao Filipe (50), city of Praia (7), Tarrafal (3), Sao Domingos (2), Boa Vista (2), Santa Catarina (2) and one in Monasteries.

No cases of microcephaly have been reported in Cape Verde thus far.

Advice for Travellers

Avoidance of mosquito bites, particularly during daylight hours, is recommended for all travellers. Due to the possible link between Zika virus infection and birth defects, pregnant women, or those planning pregnancy are strongly urged to seek pre-travel advice from their health care provider. They should be helped to understand the risks and to make an informed decision on whether to change their travel plans. If the decision is made to travel, strict measures to avoid mosquito bites both during daytime and nightime hours should be followed.

Women who have visited a Zika affected area whilst pregnant should arrange to have their next antenatal check promptly on return home, even if feeling well. This is not intended to cause undue anxiety, but merely as a precaution. In addition, medical attention must be sought quickly for any feverish illness experienced whilst travelling or on return.

Bite avoidance measures include: covering up with clothing, the use of insect repellent and bed nets impregnated with insecticide. Reduction of mosquito breeding sites around hotel rooms/homes is advised for longer term stays.