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Zika virus spreads to Costa Rica

/ 07:45 AM January 27, 2016
MED Zika Virus Q A

In this Jan. 18, 2016, file photo, a female Aedes aegypti mosquito acquires a blood meal on the arm of a researcher at the Biomedical Sciences Institute in the Sao Paulo’s University in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The Aedes aegypti can spread the Zika virus, which is spreading in parts of Latin America and the Caribbean and usually causes a mild illness but is now suspected in an unusual birth defect and possibly other health issues. AP FILE PHOTO

SAN JOSÉ, COSTA RICA—The Zika virus sweeping Latin America and blamed for a surge in brain-damaged babies has spread to Costa Rica, the health ministry said Tuesday.

A 25-year-old man was diagnosed with the mosquito-borne tropical disease after returning from a trip to Colombia, where more than 11,000 people have been infected.

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READ: What to know about the tropical Zika virus in Latin America

Since Zika, a flu-like disease that originated in Africa, arrived in Latin America last year, there has been a jump in babies born with microcephaly, or abnormally small heads, a birth defect that can cause brain damage and death.

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The World Health Organization (WHO) warned Sunday that the virus is expected to spread to all countries in the Americas except Canada and Chile.

READ: Zika virus seen spreading to nearly all countries in Americas—WHO

It was present in 21 out of 55 countries and territories in the Americas as of that update.

The WHO cautioned that no definitive link between Zika and fetal brain damage has been proven, though director general Margaret Chan called the possibility “extremely worrisome.”

The Costa Rican health ministry said the infected man was recovering at home in San Jose, the capital.

A team was dispatched to fumigate the area in hopes of wiping out mosquitoes that could bite him and pass the virus on to others.

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TAGS: Costa Rica, Epidemic, Health, Zika
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