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Zika: US issues Southeast travel warning

As Zika cases spike in Singapore, the government has been spraying insecticide in and around residential districts [Xinhua]

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Thailand has reported the detection of the debilitating microcephaly disease in two babies and has confirmed it was caused by the Zika virus.

Microcephaly, where a baby is born with a much smaller head than average, occurs during pregnancy and has been linked to the Zika virus. Microcephaly can cause brain defects, and mental and physical disabilities.

In September, Malaysia, Philippines and Singapore reported the Zika virus detected in pregnant women.

The spread of the virus to Southeast Asia has prompted the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention to issue a new Zika virus travel warning to Brunei, Myanmar (Burma), Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Philippines, Thailand, Timor-Leste (East Timor) and Vietnam.

“Countries across the region must continue to strengthen measures aimed at preventing, detecting and responding to Zika virus transmission,” said the World Health Organization’s regional director Poonam Khetrapal Singh.

According to Reuters, Thailand has confirmed 349 Zika cases since January, including 33 pregnant women, while Singapore has recorded 393 Zika cases, including 16 pregnant women.

Meanwhile, the CDC is warning men with the Zika virus to delay having children for at least six months. The revised warning says that even if the men show no symptoms, the virus can live in semen for protracted periods.

On Thursday, health officials in the state of Utah said that a healthy elderly man died of the virus but not before passing it on to his son. They concluded that the virus could be transmitted through sweat and tears.

The BRICS Post with inputs from Agencies

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