Northern Ireland

Zika virus: Several people from Northern Ireland treated

Mosquito
Image caption The Zika virus is spread primarily through mosquito bites

Several people from Northern Ireland have been diagnosed with the Zika virus.

It is understood a person was treated as recently as last week.

It is believed those diagnosed with Zika had all travelled outside of Northern Ireland.

The Public Health Agency confirmed that fewer than five people have been treated locally for the disease in the last year.

The World Health Organization has declared the Zika virus a global public health emergency.

The virus is spread primarily by bites from the Aedes mosquito but can also be spread through sexual transmission.

'No specific treatment'

The mosquito is not present in the UK but is common in South America, Africa and Asia.

The infection has been linked to thousands of babies being born with underdeveloped brains.

There have been 117 confirmed cases of the Zika virus in the UK since the outbreak last year.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the Public Health Agency said there was no specific treatment for Zika other than supportive measures such as hydration for those who have symptoms.

The agency said its policy is not to give the exact number of diagnosed cases if it is fewer than five as it may identify those affected.

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