Bucharest, July 13, 2016/ Independent Balkan News Agency
By Haris Stefanatos
Romania’s Health Ministry on Monday received confirmation that a 27-year-old Romanian woman who returned recently from Martinique tested positive for the Zika virus, announced spokesman for the Health Ministry Laurentiu Colintineanu.
“Yesterday, the Health Ministry received confirmation of a Zika infection in a Romanian national, specifically a 27-year old woman who had traveled at the end of June and early July to Martinique and contracted the virus there. One day after returning home she had symptoms that included slight fever, rashes on the chest and arms. She was admitted for two days to the ‘Victor Babes’ Hospital for Infectious Diseases and then released, given that the symptoms had disappeared,” said Colintineanu, mentioning that upon release the patient had been given the usual recommendations, including that of avoiding pregnancy in the next eight weeks.
Colintineanu underscored that the young woman is now out of harm’s way and that she is an isolated case of travel-related infection with the Zika virus.
“We are not talking about an infection contracted in Romania, but about a case of import from risk areas. The young patient’s samples were taken at the ‘Victor Babes’ hospital and were analyzed both in the hospital lab and at the Cantacuzino Institute. Confirmation for the diagnostic was given by the travel to an area known to carry virus transmission potential, the symptoms and the obvious positive result of the analyzes, which all support the Zika infection diagnosis. The virus is transmitted through the bite of Aedes aegyptus mosquitoes. Romania is also home to this genus called Aedes, but just to a subspecies called Albopictus, which only has a low risk for the transmission of this virus,” explained the Health Ministry’s spokesman.
He detailed that the virus can be transmitted through sexual intercourse or blood, but not through the air or by skin contact.
“The risk of the virus spreading in Romania is minimal, but the people traveling to risk areas, especially those who plan for instance visiting in the near future Brazil during the summer Olympic Games, are invited to monitor their health and consult a doctor if symptoms occur after a trip, especially to Latin America or Africa,” said Laurentiu Colintineanu.
According to the spokesman, the Health Ministry notified on Monday the Bucharest City Hall and the Sector 3 and 6 Mayor’s Offices on the need to promptly start mosquito control measures.
“Such actions are envisaged particularly in these two sectors because the ‘Victor Babes’ Hospital is in Sector 3 and the patient’s home is in Sector 6,” said the government official, adding that according to his information, the disinsection measures had already begun Monday evening.
Gabriel Popescu, infectious disease specialist and advisor to the Minister of Health, assured that the evolution of Zika infections is not usually severe, but warned against the major problem related to the virus, that of causing birth defects or microcephaly, if the pregnant woman gets infected. “The clinical signs resemble those of many other viral infections, with fever, headache, bad general condition, skin rashes, sore muscles and joints, conjunctivitis,” the doctor explained.
He added that there is no specific treatment for Zika virus infections and the main recommendation is for rest, adequate hydration and medication to relieve the fever and the pain.
Other recommendations of the Health Ministry are for pregnant women or women who consider pregnancy not to travel to areas with active transmission of the Zika virus and, if however they cannot avoid it, when reaching such regions to strictly respect the measures to prevent contamination by mosquito bite. Pregnant women who have traveled or lived in regions with active transmission of the virus should mention this to the doctor who monitors the pregnancy. Immunodepressed people or those suffering from severe chronic diseases should seek a consultation before they travel to such a region with virus transmission risk.