Spain to publish weekly updates on Zika virus cases

Madrid, Feb 6 (IANS) The Spanish Ministry for Health and Equality has announced that it is to publish weekly updates informing of the number of cases of the Zika virus in Spain.

The Ministry made the decision in the wake of Thursday’s revelations that seven cases, including a pregnant woman, of the virus have been detected in Spain, all in people who had visited countries where the virus is prevalent, Xinhua reported.

All of those affected are “responding within expectations and do not suppose a risk of the propagation of the virus within Spain,” according to the Ministry.

Experts said it is unlikely that the Zika virus can spread from person to person in Spain, as only one of the two kinds of mosquitoes known to spread the virus exists in the country. This is the Tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus) which lives in regions of the south and east coast, the Basque region and Aragon, but is largely inactive over the winter due to the cold.

The Zika virus reproduces more slowly in Tiger mosquitoes than in the Aedes aegipty, which is spreading the virus in Latin America.

In order for the virus to spread from person to person, a carrier with a sufficient charge of the virus would have to be bitten by a Tiger mosquito, which itself would then have to develop a large enough charge of the virus before biting another victim and thus transmitting the disease.

This process has been described as “possible, but highly improbable” by the Spanish Society for Infectious Diseases and Clinical Microbiology, especially given the current inactivity of Tiger mosquitoes. Any new cases in Spain are likely to be imported, it said.

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