Maldives eases fears over Zika spread

Maldives Health Protection Agency Sunday eased fears over the spread of the Zika virus after the archipelago reported its first positive cases insisting that no more locals had tested positive for the mosquito born disease thus far.

Over 500 Maldivians have been tested for the virus so far this year. HPA said that while the virus has to yet be found in any other Maldivians, the first two who had contracted the virus previously have now recovered as well.

Doctors state that while the virus has no cure, it can sometimes leave the infected persons system on its own.

The two who tested positive for the virus in the Maldives were a young child and old man. They had both returned to normal within a week of contracting the virus.

While 517 people have been screened by the end of last week, the state run Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) is still continuing screening of patients presenting with symptoms associated with the Zika virus.

HPA said though the screenings reveal a positive note, awareness for the virus must still be raised.

Zika causes only mild symptoms in most, including fever, sore eyes and a rash.

But pregnant women with the mosquito-borne virus risk giving birth to babies with microcephaly — a deformation that leads to abnormally small brains and heads.

Three tourists had tested positive for the virus after they left the Maldives earlier this year.

According to HPA, the tourists each from a different country — Germany, Spain and Finland had tested positive for the virus after holidaying in the Maldives this year.

It was however, unclear that the tourists had contracted the mosquito-borne virus from the Maldives.

There is no cure or vaccine for the virus, which has infected more than 1.5 million people in nearly 70 countries since last year, according to WHO, with Brazil the hardest hit.