Zika virus pregnancy case confirmed in Spain - first in Europe

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image captionZika - a mosquito-borne virus - has been linked to babies being born with underdeveloped brains

Spain has confirmed that a pregnant woman has been diagnosed with the Zika virus - the first such case in Europe.

The health ministry said the woman had recently returned from Colombia, where it is believed she was infected.

Zika, which is spreading through the Americas, has been linked to babies being born with underdeveloped brains.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the microcephaly condition, linked to the mosquito-borne virus, a global public health emergency.

The WHO on Thursday also advised countries not to accept blood donations from people who had travelled to Zika-affected regions, the AFP news agency reported.

The link between Zika infection and microcephaly has not been confirmed and the risks at different stages of pregnancy are unknown."

'No spreading risk'

In a statement (in Spanish), the health ministry said the pregnant woman was diagnosed as having Zika in the north-eastern Catalonia region.

It did not release the woman's name, saying she was one of seven confirmed cases in Spain.

It said two more patients were in Catalonia, two in Castile and Leon, one in Murcia and one in the capital Madrid.

"All are in good health," the ministry added.

It also stressed that "the diagnosed cases of Zika virus in Spain... don't risk spreading the virus in our country as they are imported cases".

More on the Zika crisis:

Microcephaly: Why it is not the end of the world

What you need to know Key questions answered about the virus and its spread

Travel advice Countries affected and what you should do

The mosquito behind spread of virus What we know about the insect

Abortion dilemma Laws and practices in Catholic Latin America

In other Zika news:

  • Brazil says a national mobilisation day will be held on Saturday, during which thousands of soldiers and state employees will work work to eradicate mosquitoes in homes and offices.
  • The outbreak is discussed by health ministers from 14 South American countries who vow to take action to eliminate it
  • Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos tells the BBC he expects a rise in Zika cases
  • The WHO expresses fears over the reported sexual transmission of the Zika virus in Texas
  • Florida Governor Rick Scott declares a public health emergency in four counties with travel-related cases of the virus, while ordering state officials to increase mosquito control efforts in heavily populated locales including Miami and Tampa