Zika virus confirmed in Norway

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UPDATED: Two pregnant women in Norway and one man have tested positive for the zika virus, according to the public health institute (Folkehelseinstituttet). News bureau NTB reported that a total of 50 tests have been analyzed since screening began in February.

Three of the tests were positive, Dr Jørgen Bjørnholt of the institute told NTB on Thursday. He initially said that only “one of more of the three” was pregnant, but he wouldn’t say how many for privacy reasons. The institute later clarified with the two pregnant patients and one male.

The virus has been tied to deformities in babies born to women carrying the virus. The babies’ brains have not developed properly and many have been born with abnormally small heads.

Pregnant women who have been in areas where there’s been an outbreak of the virus, not least in Latin America, are urged to check in with health authorities upon returning to Norway, even if they have no symptoms of any illness. The women can then be referred to one of the country’s five prenatal centers for testing and follow-up care.

“The women can naturally become anxious and have a need for counseling,” the health institute wrote on its website Thursday. The country’s national health service, in suggested, was ready to provide it and stressed they foresaw no major outbreaks in Norway or “health crises.”

Charter tour operators and airlines had already offered to allow women who’d booked flights to areas where the virus is prevalent to cancel at no charge.

newsinenglish.no staff