Test could detect Zika in hours

A new test for Zika is being touted as a quick way to identify those with the virus in remote areas, which Canadian health officials are hailing as a breakthrough.

Zika has been found in South America and the Caribbean region. Cases originally showed up in Brazil. It’s primarily spread through mosquitoes but an Ontario woman was recently confirmed as the first case of sexually transmitted Zika in Ontario.

The woman is believed to have contracted the virus after having sex with a male partner who was diagnosed after visiting a country affected by Zika.

Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Gregory Taylor said Zika’s risk to the Canadian public is low but he is not surprised to see the country’s first sexually transmitted case.

To date, Canada has confirmed 67 travel-related cases of the virus.

Referring to the new test, Dr. Keith Pardee said, “If you can in a more timely fashion identify who’s sick … it seems reasonable that you’d be able to slow the rate of spread of the virus.”

A team of U.S. and Canadian researchers has developed a new low-cost method of testing for the virus which it suggests could be used to quickly identify affected individuals and potentially help curb the spread of the infection.

The new method, published online Friday in a paper in the journal Cell, would allow health workers in remote areas to check for the mosquito-borne virus in people’s blood, urine or saliva, using a paper test strip, thus eliminating the need for complicated laboratory tests.

The Caribbean Camera has a GoFundMe site for those wishing to in the cause of the fight against the virus.