WHO confirms Zika virus in Cape Verde comes from Americas

The Zika virus found in the Cape Verde islands, off the western coast of Africa, belongs to the same strain found in the Americas, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Friday.

"The findings are of concern because it is further proof that the outbreak is spreading beyond South America and is on the doorstep of Africa," WHO Africa director Matshidiso Moeti said.

The virus was most likely brought to Cape Verde from hard-hit Brazil, Moeti added.

More than 7,500 suspected Zika cases had been reported in Cape Verde by May 8, according to the WHO, which has declared the mosquito-borne virus a global health emergency.

Zika only causes harmless flu symptoms in most cases, but the current outbreak in Latin America has shown that it can also lead to serious neurological defects in babies and adults.

In Cape Verde, the WHO reports there have been at least three cases of microcephaly – a birth defect where a baby's brain is not fully developed and its head smaller than expected. 

Last update: Fri, 20/05/2016 - 16:51

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