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First Zika Virus Pregnancy Case in Europe Confirmed

February 5, 2016
Environmental Health

Spanish health authorities have confirmed that a mother to be who is thought to be 13-14 weeks pregnant has the Zika virus. It’s the first case of the virus in a pregnant woman in Europe and brings the number of cases diagnosed in Spain so far to nine. It’s thought that the woman, who lives in the north eastern region of Catalonia and has not been named, travelled to the country from Colombia.

Earlier this week the World Health Organisation (WHO), declared microcephaly which is linked to the virus, a global public health emergency. So far the endemic, which started in Brazil, has spread to 22 other countries. Whilst it is thought the majority of cases have been spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, at least two cases of transmission through blood products have occurred in the Brazilian state of Sao Paulo.

Scientists in Spain are concerned that the temperate climate could help the virus spread to the more common tiger mosquito which is prevelant in the region. Professor Frederic Bartumeus who is based in Catalonia told the Daily Telegraph “I am sure the tiger mosquito can carry zika, but we have not seen yet in Europe how efficient it is at spreading it. In our cities, drains, gardens and fountains give them the ability to breed. They have spread down the Mediterranean coast to Andalucia and Murcia thanks to the water in tyres being transported on trucks.” Spanish officials are currently expecting up to 250 cases of Zika in the country this year.