ST CROIX, USVI -- The US Virgin Islands Department of Health has confirmed one additional case of zika on St Croix, bringing the total to seven cases. No new cases of dengue were reported this week.
In Havana, the third imported case in Cuba of a patient with the zika virus has been confirmed. The patient is a Cuban voluntary worker, a 43 year-old laboratory technician who arrived in the country from Venezuela (Merida) on March 1, 2016, and lives in the municipality of Florida, in eastern Camagüey province, the public health ministry said.
Meanwhile, sexual transmission of the zika virus is more common than previously thought, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday, citing reports from several countries.
WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan
WHO director-general Dr Margaret Chan said that "reports and investigations in several countries strongly suggest that sexual transmission of the virus is more common than previously assumed”.
The US is investigating more than a dozen possible cases of zika in people who may have been infected through sex.
Dr Bruce Aylward, who is directing WHO's response to zika, said the cases seen so far of sexual transmission of zika have been from men to women. However, he doubted sex would play an important role in the disease's spread, which occurs mainly by mosquitoes.
"The mosquito is undoubtedly still the main driver of transmission," he said.
After a meeting of its emergency committee on Tuesday, the UN health agency also said there is increasing evidence of birth defects and neurological problems caused by zika,.
Chan said nine countries have now reported increasing cases of Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare condition that may be linked to zika and can cause temporary paralysis and death in people of all ages. She said that problems connected to zika, including Guillain-Barre syndrome, are now being seen not just in women of child-bearing age, but children, teenagers and older adults.
Zika is also now spreading to new countries, WHO said. It noted local transmission has now been reported in 31 countries across Latin America and the Caribbean.