Guinea-Bissau confirms three cases of Zika virus

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Guinea Bissau has confirmed three cases of the Zika virus in a group of Islands off the mainland, the first cases to be reported in the country.

Authorities have set up an emergency committee to stop further transmission of the disease.

Experts have expressed concern that the West African country could become a gateway for Zika’s spread to the mainland West Africa, after an outbreak was first recorded in the Island chain of Cape Verde late last year.

“The Health Minister has informed (the government) of three confirmed cases of Zika virus contamination located in the Bijagos Archipelago,” read a government statement sent to reporters.

The mosquito-borne virus is spreading through the Carribean and Latin America. Only about 20 percent of infected cases display symptoms, which are usually mild and include fever, joint pain and conjunctivitis.

The World Health Organisation confirmed in May that Cape Verde’s Zika strain was the same one found in Brazil, where more than 1,400 cases of microcephaly have been recorded in babies whose mothers were infected with the virus during pregnancy.

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