A pregnant Victorian woman has been diagnosed with the Zika virus, Victorian Minister for Health Jill Hennessy told a news conference this morning.
In an ABC News live broadcast, Ms. Hennessy said the woman had contracted the virus overseas in a country where the virus is prevalent, and asked that all reporters be respectful of the woman’s privacy.
“My primary concern today is not about a public health risk but a woman who is dealing with the anxiety of receiving news that is incredibly concerning,” Ms. Hennessy said, highlighting that there was no public health risk for the disease and no mosquitoes in Australia are carrying the virus.
The Zika virus has been linked to microcephaly, a birth defect in babies causing them to be born with small heads and damaged brains. If the virus is contracted as an adult, symptoms include joint pain, rashes, headaches, and fever.
“The Department is doing absolutely everything they can to ensure that this woman receives all of the support and the care that she needs during this extremely difficult period,” Ms. Hennessy said.
“We are advising all people, but especially pregnant women or women who may be in trying or intending to get pregnant, to avoid travelling to those countries and places where there have been Zika outbreaks.”
Last week the World Health Organisation declared a global public health emergency for the virus. Widespread infections have been reported in South and Central America, and the Caribbean.
A pregnant Queensland woman was also diagnosed with the virus earlier this week. – Taylor Yates
Top image of mosquito from John Tann’s Flickr photostream.