Costa Rican health officials this week reported the two latest confirmed cases of Zika virus, contracted by a man and woman who recently traveled to Nicaragua. They bring the total number of confirmed cases in Costa Rica to 12.
The woman lives in San Rafael de Heredia, north of the capital, and the man in San José.
The list of people who contracted the virus abroad includes a man who was infected in Honduras and another who contracted it in Colombia.
All eight cases of local transmission occurred in the Guanacaste canton of Nicoya, in the communities of Nosara and Sámara. The Northern Pacific area is a major destination for beach-bound tourists.
Health Minister Fernando Llorca confirmed the first two local cases of Zika on Feb. 22. Both are women from Sámara and one is pregnant. Her baby is in good condition, Llorca said at the time.
The ministry’s director of health surveillance, Daniel Salas, said measures to curb the proliferation of the mosquito-borne virus in the northwestern province of Guanacaste have been effective in containing the spread of the virus there.
A report issued Wednesday states that ministry officials in the first eight weeks of this year have ruled out 129 suspected cases of Zika.
Following the confirmation of the first local cases the Health Ministry and the National Emergency Commission issued a health alert to launch an active search for patients with fever and other symptoms, mostly in coastal communities.
The alert allows public agencies to allocate resources to fight the proliferation of Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes, the main carriers of the virus. It also triggers a health protocol that includes visits to fumigate homes, distribute information and allocate resources for the local municipality.
Currently the alert is in force in 31 cantons in all seven provinces.