17 Mar 2016

Zika in American Samoa linked to exposure transmission

6:27 am on 17 March 2016

A Department of Health epidemiologist in American Samoa says the origin of zika infection in the territory was probably through exposure transmission.

Latest reports out of American Samoa have the number of suspected Zika cases at 362, of which 14 are confirmed, including 6 pregnant women.

Magele Scott Anesi said one theory that the Department is considering is that American Samoa's first Zika case was an exposed transmission, meaning it did not originate locally but through an avid traveller.

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Photo: AFP

The Department of Health epidemiologist believed the virus was brought in to American Samoa rather than developed locally.

"So that individuals that travelled back and forth between here and other islands, were the ones, you know, where transmission was. And so a lot of times when individuals come to one area and they get bitten by a mosquito, it bites someone else and they leave. So that's our suspicion but we can say for sure that zika virus was definitely circulating in the Pacific, but not in American Samoa."

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