The mosquito-borne Zika virus, also referred to as ZIKV, has now reached the Caribbean, with a 12-year-old girl in the Dominican Republic becoming the first person to contract the virus in the region. Reports have been made that the child has been hospitalised in a private clinic.
Arriving after cases were reported in Brazil, prompting the Pan American Health Organization to issue a warning about its potential to spread to other countries.
Caribbean countries subsequently put their residents on alert and are urged to do so.
The zika virus is transmitted by the bite of an infected Aedes aegypti mosquito, the same mosquito that transmits chikungunya and dengue. The virus is similar to dengue with symptoms that include fever, joint and muscle pain, conjunctivitis, headache, weakness, rash and swelling of the lower limbs.
After the bite of an infected mosquito, symptoms usually appear following the incubation period of three to 12 days. They last for four to seven days.
No deaths due to the zika virus have been recorded worldwide to date.