Zika: Spanish officials confirm pregnant woman in Catalonia infected with virus

Health Ministry says woman infected during a trip to Colombia and the wider population is not at risk

Caroline Mortimer
Thursday 04 February 2016 20:07
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The ministry did not release the woman’s identity or the condition of her unborn child.
The ministry did not release the woman’s identity or the condition of her unborn child.

Spanish officials have confirmed a pregnant woman is one of seven people in the country who have been infected with Zika.

The Health Ministry said in a statement that the woman had travelled to Colombia and was presumably infected during her trip.

She is believed to be in her second trimester of pregnancy and is currently under medical supervision in Catalonia in the north of the country.

The ministry did not release details of the woman’s identity or the condition of her unborn child.

Officials said the number of cases diagnosed in Spain at the moment was too small to spread the virus across the country.

Zika, which was first detected in a Ugandan forest in 1947, has been linked to a jump in the number of babies born with Microcephaly across the continent.

The number of cases of the condition - which can cause babies to be born with abnormally small heads and often suffer brain damage - in Brazil alone has risen from 150 a year to 4,000 in just four months.

The virus - spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito which also transmits yellow fever - has led to several South American countries warning women not to get pregnant.

The news comes as a research professor based in Catalonia warned Spain could face an outbreak affecting hundreds of thousands of people.

Professor Frederic Bartumeus believes the European Tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus) is capable of transmitting the disease as well following a study of how the virus is spread in Gabon in 2007.

Tiger mosquitos were first recorded in Barcelona in 2004 and are believed to have travelled to Europe from South-East Asia by sitting in stagnant water in lorry tyres.

The World Health Organisation has deemed Zika a “public health emergency of international concern”.

Additional reporting by AP

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