A total of five pregnant women in Norway have now tested postive for the zika virus, which can cause birth defects. Local doctors still aren’t sure, though, whether the women were infected after they became pregnant or before.
“The pregnant women who have tested postive will be examined to find out if they were infected during pregnancy, and then followed up,” Line Vold, divisional director at the Norwegian public health institute (Folkehelseinstituttet) told news bureau NTB.
All told, 12 of the 222 people tested for the virus proved positive. They included 80 men and 142 women. Nearly 80 percent of those infected by the zika virus, which has become rampant in parts of South America, display no symptoms. US researchers have confirmed that the virus is transmitted by mosquitos and can lead to an illness that can hinder brain development in a fetus.
Norwegian public health officials are advising pregnant women against traveling to Latin American countries. The virus outbreak is most widespread in Brazil, where as many as 1.3 million cases have been reported. Colombia has also been hit hard, with 60,000 cases of infection.