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World Updates

Zika virus infection – Panama

On 2 December 2015, the National IHR Focal Point (NFP) of Panama notified PAHO/WHO of the first 3 laboratory-confirmed cases of Zika virus disease. On 27 November, the Ministry of Health (MoH) of Panama was informed of 68 patients with fever and exanthema in Ustupu island, Alligandi district, Guna Yala province. Serum samples were taken from 43 patients, 30 of whom were symptomatic, and sent for testing to the Commemorative Gorgas Institute for Health Studies.

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) – Saudi Arabia

Between 2 and 27 November 2015, the National IHR Focal Point for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia notified WHO of 3 additional cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection, including 2 deaths. The National IHR Focal Point for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia also notified WHO of the death of 3 MERS-CoV cases that were reported in previous DONs on 13 November (case no. 4 and 5) and on 27 September (case no. 7).

Zika virus infection – Venezuela

On 27 November 2015, the National IHR Focal Point of Venezuela received notification of 7 suspected cases of Zika virus infection. The diagnoses were made by the national reference laboratory, the "Rafael Rangel" National Institute of Hygiene. Four samples tested positive for Zika virus by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). The results were re-confirmed by Colombia’s National Institute of Health (INS). The cases, whose age ranges from 40 to 55 years old, are all women from areas that border Brazil.

Zika virus infection – Mexico

On 26 November 2015, national health authorities in Mexico notified PAHO/WHO of 3 cases of Zika virus infection, including two autochthonous cases (residents of Nuevo León and Chiapas) and one imported case (with history of travel to Colombia). The diagnoses were made by the national reference laboratory using reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Mexican health authorities are implementing the corresponding prevention and control measures. Investigations are ongoing.

Zika virus infection – Paraguay

On 27 November 2015, the National IHR Focal Point of Paraguay notified PAHO/WHO of 6 laboratory-confirmed autochthonous cases of Zika virus infection in the city of Pedro Caballero, which is located in the northeast of the country and shares borders with Brazil. The diagnoses were made by the national reference laboratory, the Central Public Health Laboratory of the Ministry of Health, through reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) technique. Cases were identified from clusters of febrile patients whose samples tested negative for dengue and chikungunya.

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