Monday 20 November 2017

Fourth person diagnosed with Zika virus after returning to Ireland

The person is believed to have tested positive after returning from Brazil. (AP)
The person is believed to have tested positive after returning from Brazil. (AP)
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

A fourth person has been diagnosed with the Zika virus after returning to Ireland.

The person is believed to have tested positive after ­returning from Brazil.

It was reported in recent months that three people were diagnosed with the virus here, two of whom had been in ­Colombia.

The third person caught the virus while in Barbados.

The latest case was diagnosed earlier this month.

The virus is spread by Aedes mosquitoes and for most people it is a very mild infection and not harmful.

However, it can be potentially serious for pregnant women, as there is evidence it causes birth defects – in particular, abnormally small heads in newborns.

The Health Protection Surveillance Centre, the country’s disease watchdog, in updated guidance on the virus said it usually causes a mild illness that typically lasts between two and seven days.

Eight in ten people who become infected by the Zika virus have no symptoms.

The Department of Foreign Affairs provides guidance to travellers that is updated ­regularly.

People travelling to affected countries are urged to take precautions to reduce exposure to mosquito bites. These include use of mosquito repellents and wearing long-sleeved shirts and long trousers, especially during the hours of highest mosquito activity. Avoid areas of high mosquito concentration such as stagnant water.

Use mosquito nets in accommodation if needed.

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