2 Apr 2016

10 cases of Zika virus confirmed in Fiji

2:28 pm on 2 April 2016

Fiji's health ministry says ten cases of the Zika virus have been confirmed in the country.

The ministry's permanent secretary, Dr Meciusela Tuicakau, also said there were 25 confirmed cases of typhoid in the cyclone-ravaged Central Division.

There are continued fears about an outbreak of mosquito-borne disease in Fiji after the category five Cyclone Winston devastated a large part of the country in February.

This year, Zika has been recorded in five Pacific countries, with more than 400 cases detected in American Samoa.

The World Health Organisation declared Zika a global health emergency on February 1. Internationally, concern has been raised about a suspected link between the virus and two neurological disorders: microcephaly, which is associated with unusually small heads and, often, brain damage in infants; and, Guillain-Barré syndrome, in which the immune system attacks part of the nervous system.

However, those links are yet to be confirmed, but the WHO said last month that new research had strengthened the link between the virus and foetal abnormalities, and advised pregnant women to avoid travel to areas of ongoing Zika outbreaks.

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