The Peruvian government in response to the first case of sexually transmitted Zika gave out condoms to visitors who came from countries with confirmed cases of Zika on Tuesday.
The Zika virus was originally thought to be only transmitted by mosquitoes however; recent case of sexually transmitted Zika proves this isn’t so.
On of the mosquitos responsible for the transmission is known as Aedes aegypti (also known to spread yellow fever and dengue fever) and in a recent statement made by the World Health Organisation (WHO) suggests that the virus will not spread to Chile. The reason for this is that Chile successfully eradiated the Aedes aegypti from the mainland in 1961.
While visitors arrived on Tuesday the Peruvian health minister overlooked the campaign in the airport, leaflets were also handed out. Percy Minaya stated to the media:
“[Because it can spread via sexual transmission] is why it’s important to use condoms when somebody has sexual relations, especially if the woman is pregnant because that’s when the risk is greatest.”
Minaya hopes that the campaign can be expanded nationwide to other important airports across the country as well as land borders and seaports.
Previous cases of Zika in Peru are from people having recently returned to Peru after visiting countries with confirmed case of the disease such as Brazil and Venezuela.
The virus is expected to spread further across Latin America and the Caribbean however; Canada and Chile are more likely to be unaffected by the disease.
The disease is unlikely to be fatal and in some cases may not produce symptoms however one of the largest fears is that the disease may be linked to microcephaly in new born babies. Microcephaly is characterized by abnormally small heads, so far in Brazil, one of the country’s most affect by the disease reports 1100 cases of microcephaly.