Ireland Confirms Two Cases Of Zika Virus

Two cases of the Zika virus have been confirmed in Ireland, the country’s Health Services Executive says.

The people involved are a man and an older woman.

Both had travelled to a country affected by the virus, which can cause birth defects, and both have now fully recovered.

The news came as it was reported that a sexually-transmitted case of Zika had been diagnosed in Dallas, Texas.

The HSE said the two cases in Ireland were not related to each other. In a statement it said: “The finding of Zika cases in Ireland is not an unexpected event as many other European countries have reported cases as a result of travel to affected areas.

“Currently, outbreaks of Zika virus are occurring in some countries in South and Central America, the Caribbean and the Pacific Islands.”

It added: “Infection when it occurs usually results in a mild illness that typically lasts between two to seven days.

“The majority of people who become infected by Zika virus have no symptoms. Zika virus is spread through the bite of a mosquito that is in certain countries but which is not present in Ireland.

“While almost all cases of Zika virus are acquired via mosquito bites, one case of sexual transmission of Zika virus has been reported internationally, however the risk of sexual transmission of Zika virus is thought to be extremely low.

“If you become ill within two weeks after your return to Ireland from an affected area, you should contact your doctor for assessment and let him/her know of your recent travel history to an affected area.”Zika has been linked to a steep increase in the number of babies born with microcephaly, which causes abnormally small heads and brains.

So far, cases have been reported in 35 countries and territories, with Brazil among the worst affected.

Health officials have advised pregnant women to avoid travelling to affected areas.

Apart from the risks to unborn babies, Zika is not considered dangerous.

But there are no known vaccines, specific treatments or rapid diagnostic tests for it.

Common symptoms – which can last for up to a week – include fever, rashes, joint pain and conjunctivitis.