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Zika cases confirmed in Northern Ireland


Fewer than five people have been treated for the Zika virus in Northern Ireland, according to the Public Health Agency.

The virus is mainly found in central and southern Americas, but originated in Uganda nearly 70 years ago. The symptoms are generally mild, and most people who get Zika do not show any symptoms. Patients who do usually have itching, rash, headache, eye pain and joint pain.

It is usually transmitted by a mosquito bite, particularly the Aedes mosquito. The mosquito will feed on the blood of a person infected with the virus, which will then multiply within the mosquito. After two weeks, the mosquito can spread the virus by biting other humans. Although rare, it can also be transmitted through sexual intercourse and from mother to baby during pregnancy.

Zika has been linked to women in Brazil giving birth to children with abnormally small heads (microcephaly) who were infected with the Zika virus during their pregnancy. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), additional studies have been planned in order to understand this link.

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