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‘No Zika cases on the island’

Virus victim: Beenie Man, who performed here last week, shared this picture on Instagram after he became ill with the Zika virus

The Ministry of Health is not able to comment further on Beenie Man having reportedly contracted Zika.

Responding to questions about the implications of the dancehall reggae artist potentially having the virus while in Bermuda, a spokeswoman said: “The Ministry of Health and Seniors does not comment on specific cases of illness and we maintain this level of respect for individual privacy and confidentiality in this instance.

“The ministry can, however, address the matter from a general public health standpoint. Bermuda does not have the mosquito which most readily transmits the Zika virus and we have not identified any cases of Zika on the island to date.

“However, as thousands of Bermudians and visitors travel throughout regions where Zika is circulating, we must all remain vigilant to prevent mosquito bites, here in Bermuda and when travelling. For advice on how to protect yourself, the public is referred to www.gov.bm/zika-virus.”

The Royal Gazette had asked if the matter was being investigated and what the implications would be if he had been bitten by a mosquito while in Bermuda.

Beenie Man, who performed at the Cup Match Summer Splash concert on July 27, informed fans via social media last week that he had contracted Zika.

The diagnosis was reported in Rolling Stone, which added that the Jamaican artist had called off a concert scheduled for Saturday after being denied a Canadian visa.

In a statement on Sunday, a Ministry of Health spokeswoman noted that he had reported falling ill with the virus “which he contracted before visiting the island”, and wished him well. She also reminded the public about how to reduce the risk of contracting the virus.

According to the World Health Organisation, Zika is caused by a virus transmitted primarily by Aedes mosquitoes, although sexual transmission is also possible.

Symptoms are usually mild and include a moderate fever, skin rash, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise or headache, which normally last for two to seven days.

However, there is scientific consensus that Zika virus is a cause of microcephaly and Guillain-Barré syndrome, while links to other neurological complications are also being investigated.

Pregnant women are particularly at risk and the Ministry of Health advises all pregnant women at risk of exposure to seek immediate advice from their physician.