India confirms first Zika virus cases: WHO

2017-05-28 07:35
Mosquitoes, responsible for transmitting the Zika virus, sit in a petri dish in a laboratory. (Felipe Dana, AP)

Mosquitoes, responsible for transmitting the Zika virus, sit in a petri dish in a laboratory. (Felipe Dana, AP)

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New Delhi - The Indian health ministry has confirmed its first cases of the Zika virus, the World Health Organisation has said, the latest nation to be affected by the mosquito-borne virus that sparked global concern.

Zika, which can cause babies to be born with microcephaly, or abnormally small heads, has affected dozens of countries around the world since it was first detected in 2015, although the WHO lifted its international health emergency status for the virus in November.

The Zika cases in India, which included a pregnant woman, were picked up in routine laboratory screening in western Gujarat state over the period of more than a year, the WHO said.

It said the cases "suggest low transmission of Zika virus" in India.

But it warned that more cases could come to light and called on authorities to strengthen the monitoring of Zika-like symptoms.

There was no update on the current health status of the detected cases in the report.

Since Zika erupted on a large scale in mid-2015, more than 1.5 million people have been infected, mostly in Brazil and other countries in South America. Some 70 countries have been impacted.

Zika may lead to an itchy rash but often causes no symptoms, making it hard to track.

Read more on:    zika virus  |  india

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