Zika virus in French Polynesia

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French Polynesia
French Polynesia

French Polynesia is an overseas collectivity of the French Republic. It is composed of 118 geographically dispersed islands and atolls stretching over an expanse of more than 2,000 kilometres in the South Pacific Ocean. French Polynesia is a Pacific archipelago.

The outbreak of Zika virus in French Polynesia started in 2013. It affected over 28,000 people and more than 10 per cent of the local population showed symptoms of Zika virus.

During this outbreak, national health authorities reported an unusual increase in Guillain-Barré syndrome. A similar observation of increased Guillain-Barré syndrome was made in 2015 in Brazil. Guillain-Barré syndrome has neurological and auto-immune complications and may also cause paralysis.

In the 2013 outbreak, semen and urine samples from a 44-year-old Tahitian man tested positive for Zika even when blood samples did not. For more information, read Sexual transmission of Zika virus.

Some scientists say that the French authorities didn't do enough to stop the spread of Zika virus after its outbreak in 2013-14. The findings of the doctors are not taken seriously enough.

On 22 February 2016, the Health authorities in French Polynesia said they never used the insecticide which Argentinian experts link to the large number of microcephaly cases in Brazil's Zika outbreak.