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India confirms 13 of its nationals test positive for Zika in Singapore

U.S. health officials have concluded that Zika infections in pregnant women can cause microcephaly.

Published: 01st September 2016 10:54 AM  |   Last Updated: 01st September 2016 08:40 PM   |  A+A-

zika virus_AP

A graduate student works on analyzing samples to identify the Zika virus in a laboratory at the Fiocruz institute in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. | FIle/AP

NEW DELHI: The centre on Thursday confirmed that 13 Indian nationals have tested positive for Zika virus in Singapore, which has seen a surge in the number of people grappling with the mosquito-borne disease.

"As per our Embassy in Singapore, 13 Indian nationals have tested positive for Zika in that country," External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said.

The Indian High Commission there said the Singapore government had informed it about the Indians being infected with Zika virus Wednesday.

The MEA spokesperson said that of the 13 Indian nationals who are suffering with Zika in Singapore, most have either recovered or are recovering.

“Our mission is in constant touch with Ministry of Health of Singapore and will ensure that Indians receive full medical support,” he said.

Singapore has seen a surge in the number of people affected by Zika virus, particularly those working in construction sites.

There have been other foreign nationals who have contracted Zika in Singapore, including six Bangladeshis and 21 Chinese. As of now, there are 115 confirmed Zika cases in Singapore.

The World Health Organisation had in February declared Zika as a public health emergency after women affected by it had given birth to children with microcephaly, a birth defect with small head size. However, no case of Zika has been reported from India as of now.

The WHO has said that India was one of the countries which was developing a vaccine for Zika, which has affected 38 countries.

Privately held Bharat Biotech, based in Hyderabad, had said it started work on the Zika virus a year ago, while developing vaccines for chikungunya and dengue.

Zika is a viral disease which is transmitted through the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito. This is the same mosquito that is known to transmit infections like dengue and chikungunya.  Zika virus was first identified in Uganda in 1947.

When it affects pregnant women, the disease is known to cause Microcephaly, which is a medical condition in which the brain does not develop properly resulting in a smaller than normal head.

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