Three tourists test positive for Zika after Maldives visit

A city worker sprays chemicals with a fumigator to kill mosquitoes in an effort to control the spread of the Zika virus at a school in Bangkok on September 14, 2016. Zika causes mild symptoms in most, including fever, sore eyes and a rash, but pregnant women with the virus can give birth to babies with microcephaly -- a deformation marked by abnormally small heads and brains.  / AFP PHOTO / LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA

A city worker sprays chemicals with a fumigator to kill mosquitoes in an effort to control the spread of the Zika virus at a school in Bangkok on September 14, 2016.
Zika causes mild symptoms in most, including fever, sore eyes and a rash, but pregnant women with the virus can give birth to babies with microcephaly — a deformation marked by abnormally small heads and brains. / AFP PHOTO / LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA

Three tourists had tested positive for Zika virus after they left the Maldives, the archipelago’s health protection agency said Friday.

According to HPA, the tourists each from a different country — Germany, Spain and Finland had tested positive for the virus after holidaying in the Maldives this year.

It was however, unclear that the tourists had contracted the mosquito-borne virus from the Maldives.

Zika causes only mild symptoms in most, including fever, sore eyes and a rash.

But pregnant women with the mosquito-borne virus risk giving birth to babies with microcephaly — a deformation that leads to abnormally small brains and heads.

There is no cure or vaccine for the virus, which has infected more than 1.5 million people in nearly 70 countries since last year, according to WHO, with Brazil the hardest hit.

While Zika has been present in Southeast Asia for years, there has been an uptick in the number of recorded cases in the region in recent months.

Thai health authorities on Friday said microcephaly in two babies was caused by the Zika virus, in what is believed to be Southeast Asia’s first confirmed cases linking the sickness and the birth defect.

Scientists warned this month that the world should prepare for a “global epidemic” of microcephaly as Zika takes root in new countries.

US on Friday had issued a Zika related travel advisory urging caution for its citizens when traveling to the archipelago.

Maldives government has taken measures to protect the tourism dependent nation from the virus and had launched special programs throughout the archipelago to eliminate mosquito breeding grounds.

The government has also established facilities at the state run Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) in the capital Male to test for the virus.

 

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