Zika virus in Panama
Panama is a country in Central America situated between North and South America. It is bordered by Costa Rica to the west, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south.
As of 23 February 2016, there are 73 confirmed cases of Zika virus in Panama. 71 of those cases are in Guna Yala, one in Tocumen, and one is a person returning from Venezuela.
- February 2016 - 50 confirmed Zika virus cases
- 20 February 2016 - 73 confirmed cases
Efforts to tackle Zika virus
Panama is considering releasing millions of genetically modified mosquitoes to try and combat the spread of the Zika virus. The process involves introducing male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes whose genes have been altered to mate with the females. Altered genes means that their offspring will die at the larvae stage, far before the reproductive stage. Panama government is looking at the viability and feasibility of the project. The project was earlier carried out in 2014 which resulted in 93 percent decline in the mosquito population in the area. However, the cost of such a project was very high. Brazil has already authorized to using genetically modified mosquitoes last month.
On 16 February 2016, Panama announced a nation-wide health alert because of Zika virus.
On 20 February 2016, Panama Health Minister Francisco Javier Terrientes announced that there are 73 Zika cases in Panama. He visited a village of Pacora where the first Zika case outside of Guna Yala is reported. Spraying is in progress in the village to curb the spread of Zika. The patient comes from a farm located in Pacora.