Two Maldivians test positive for Zika

A pest control worker fumigates the grounds of a residential estate in the Bedok North area of Singapore on September 1, 2016.  Singapore's Zika outbreak escalated September 1 after Malaysia said one of its citizens returned infected from the city-state as the government expanded its fumigation drive to a new area identified as a potential cluster for the virus. / AFP PHOTO / ROSLAN RAHMAN

A pest control worker fumigates the grounds of a residential estate in the Bedok North area of Singapore on September 1, 2016.
Singapore’s Zika outbreak escalated September 1 after Malaysia said one of its citizens returned infected from the city-state as the government expanded its fumigation drive to a new area identified as a potential cluster for the virus. / AFP PHOTO / ROSLAN RAHMAN

Health Protection Agency announced late Friday that two Maldivians tested positive for Zika virus.

In a statement, HPA noted that the three tourists that tested positive for Zika virus after leaving the Maldives in September are believed to have contracted the virus during their holiday in the archipelago. Hence, the agency has widely conducted tests for Zika infection among 517 locals suspected to be infected, out of which two have tested positive.

The agency did not disclose when the two Maldivians had tested positive for Zika virus though HPA said in its statement that the virus has not spread so far.

Following World Health Organisation (WHO)’s warning last February that Zika virus could become a “global epidemic”, the 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 efforts also include programmes to control the Aedes aegypti mosquito that transmits dengue and Zika and establishing Zika testing in the Maldives, according to HPA’s statement.

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

Also contracted via sexual relations, 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.

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