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First sexually transmitted Zika case registered in Spain

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First sexually transmitted Zika case registered in Spain
The Aedes aegypti mosquito, which carries the Zika virus. Photo: Marvin Recinos / AFP.
12:01 CEST+02:00
Spain's Health Minsitry has confirmed the first case of sexually transmitted Zika virus in the country, as the total number of cases rises to 167.

Spain’s Health Ministry announced that the total number of cases of Zika virus in the country has risen to 167 people - 22 of whom are pregnant women.

The number has risen by nine in a week, as the ministry also confirmed the first case of the virus being sexually transmitted.

The case was detected in the Community of Madrid, health officials confirmed.

The other 166 cases were detected in people who had recently returned from affected countries, the National Network of Epidemiological Vigilance said in its latest statement, released on Monday.

Broken down by region, 58 cases have been detected in Catalonia, 42 in Madrid, 13 in Aragón, 11 in Castile and León, seven in Galicia, seven in Valencia, five in Andalusia, five in the Canary Islands, four in Navarra, four in La Rioja, four in the Basque Country, three in the Balearic Islands, two in Asturias, two in Murcia and one in Castilla-La Mancha.

The report shows that 22 of those infected with the virus are pregnant women. Catalonia on Monday confirmed the healthy birth of the fourth baby to a mother infected with the virus.

There have been two births registered in Spain of babies with Zika-related microcephaly, where babies are born with abnormally small heads and sometimes brain damage

The current Zika outbreak began in early 2015 in Brazil, where some 1.5 million infections have been reported. Since then, the epidemic has spread to several other countries in the Americas.

Scientists believe the virus to be responsible for a surge in Brazilian infants born with microcephaly.

There is no vaccine or treatment for the virus, which in most people causes only mild symptoms - a rash, joint pain or fever.

Several sportsmen and women, among them Spanish basketball player Pau Gasol have expressed doubt over whether they will go to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro over fears of catching the Zika virus. 

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