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Jamaica has become the latest country to be affected by the dangerous Zika virus.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office confirmed that a case of the mosquito-borne virus had been confirmed in the country.
Travellers to Jamaica should follow the advice of the National Travel Health Network and Centre, “particularly if you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant,” the FCO said in an updated travel advisory.
The virus has now spread to at least 23 countries across the Americas with the highest proportion of women affected reported to be in Brazil and Columbia.
The World Health Organisation could be set to declare Zika a global emergency after the virus was linked to thousands of babies being born with underdeveloped brains in Brazil.
The organisation has set up an International Health Regulations Emergency Committee to examine Zika and will meet today (Monday) to decide whether it constitutes a global emergency on the scale of Ebola.
Concerns have been amplified by the fact that the Olympic Games take place in Rio de Janeiro this summer, when around 500,000 tourists are expected to visit the city, the Guardian reported.
Women in the UK have been warned by Public Health England to consider avoiding travel to areas where Zika is active.
Thomson, First Choice and Thomas Cook have waived amendment fees to allow pregnant holidaymakers to switch destinations away from Zika-affected countries.
Dr Dipti Patel, director at National Travel Health Network and Centre (Nathnac), said last week: “All travellers, especially pregnant women going to an area with active Zika virus transmission, should ensure they seek travel health advice from their GP or a travel clinic well in advance of their trip and consult the Nathnac website for up to date information on current outbreaks and country information.
“We strongly advise all travellers to avoid mosquito bites and urge pregnant women to consider avoiding travel to areas reporting active Zika transmission.
“If travel to these areas is unavoidable, or they live in areas where Zika virus transmission is occurring, they should take scrupulous insect bite avoidance measures both during daytime and night-time hours.”
Five UK travellers are reported to have been diagnosed with the Zika virus since the start of the outbreak in 2015.
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