Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 26 May 2016

Two adults confirmed with Zika virus in Ireland

Published 02/02/2016

A Nicaragua health ministry worker fumigates for the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that transmits the Zika virus at the Oriental Market in Managua (AP)
A Nicaragua health ministry worker fumigates for the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that transmits the Zika virus at the Oriental Market in Managua (AP)

Two adults have been confirmed with the Zika virus in Ireland, health chiefs have said.

The cases - the first of their kind in the country - are unrelated to each other and both patients are said to be currently well and fully recovered.

Both individuals have a history of travel to a Zika affected country, Ireland's Health Service Executive (HSE) confirmed.

"These are the first cases of Zika virus infection confirmed in Ireland," a HSE spokeswoman said.

"Neither case is at risk of pregnancy."

The HSE said the newly-discovered Zika cases in Ireland are "not an unexpected event" as many other European countries have reported cases as a result of people travelling to affected areas.

Health chiefs have urged Irish people who fall ill within two weeks after returning from an affected area to seek medical help.

The news comes as the first known case of the Zika virus being sexually transmitted in the United States has been reported.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said a patient in Texas had been infected with the virus after having sexual contact with an ill person who returned from a Zika-affected country.

The virus is usually spread through mosquito bites, but investigators have been exploring the possibility it can also be spread through sex.

The virus was found in one man's semen in Tahiti, and there was a report of a Colorado researcher who caught the virus overseas and apparently spread it to his wife back home in 2008.

Last week, Public Health England warned men in the UK to wear condoms for a month after returning from any of the 23 countries affected by Zika.

In guidance the body said: "Sexual transmission of Zika virus has been recorded in a limited number of cases, and the risk of sexual transmission of Zika virus is thought to be very low.

"However, if a female partner is at risk of getting pregnant, or is already pregnant, condom use is advised for a male traveller."

Ministers have insisted the risk posed by the spread of the mosquito-borne Zika virus to the British public remains "extremely low".

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared an international emergency over the virus, which is linked to birth defects in Brazil and the Americas.

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