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Tonga declares Zika epidemic after 5 confirmed cases

The tiny South Pacific kingdom of Tonga has declared it has a Zika epidemic after five people tested positive for the virus and another 265 are suspected of having it.

Tonga Health Minister Saia Piukala told the Associated Press on Friday that the Zika outbreak is the island's first and that it is awaiting the results of more blood tests that have been sent overseas.

Dr Piukala said there have not been any reported cases of pregnant women contracting the virus or showing symptoms.

Brazilian researchers suspect the explosive spread of Zika is linked to an increase in the number of babies born with abnormally small heads, although scientists have not yet proven a link.

The World Health Organisation this week declared the Zika virus a global emergency.

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