Zika virus strain responsible for cases of microcephaly in Latin America, has spread for the first time in an African country, Cape Verde, announced Friday, May 20, the World health Organization (WHO) . “ This is the first time that the strain of Zika, responsible for neurological and microcephaly, was detected in Africa” , said the doctor Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for the Africa, at a press conference in Geneva.
the sequencing of the virus carried by the Pasteur Institute in Dakar, confirmed that the currently circulating in Cape Verde, Africa archipelago of West, is the same as that which circulates in the Americas. It is indeed, in both cases, the Asian strain of the virus.
“The findings are of concern because they are further evidence that the epidemic is spreading beyond South America and is the gateway to Africa , added M me Moeti. This information will help African countries to reassess their risk level and to adapt and increase their levels of preparedness. “
WHO believes the virus has arrived in Cape green through a traveler came from South America. “Then there was a local transmission, it is not only imported cases” , said a spokesman for WHO, Marsha Vanderford.
The Dr. Bruce Aylward, assistant director general of WHO, said for his part that there was for decades an African strain of Zika and it was difficult to know if now the African population could be immunized or not against Asian strain.
on May 8, 7557 suspected cases of Zika virus and three cases of microcephaly were recorded in Cape Verde. No cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome was detected. According to WHO, scientific consensus has been reached on the basis of an increasing number of preliminary studies, as to cause and effect between the Zika virus and cases of microcephaly and Guillain-Barré syndrome.