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Northern Ireland health chiefs give advice over Zika virus

By Victoria O'Hara

Published 04/02/2016

The World Health Organisation has declared an international emergency over the virus (AP)
The World Health Organisation has declared an international emergency over the virus (AP)

Health officials in Northern Ireland have issued advice to medics on what action to take if an outbreak of Zika occurs here.

The Public Health Authority (PHA) has also said it is monitoring the situation after two unrelated cases of the mosquito-borne virus that causes birth defects were confirmed in the Republic.

One was a man and the other was an older woman who was not pregnant. Both have recovered.

They both have a history of travel to a Zika-affected country.

Zika has been linked to thousands of cases of babies born with underdeveloped brains in Brazil.

The first known case of the Zika virus being sexually transmitted in the US has also been reported.

"If a person acquires Zika virus infection abroad and becomes ill on their return, any risk to the wider population is negligible," a PHA spokesman said.

Pregnant women or women planning to become pregnant are told they should consider avoiding travel to areas where Zika virus outbreaks are being reported.

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