Portugal at “high risk” of Zika, warns bug expert

With 188 doctors, scientists and bioethicists calling for the Rio Olympics to be moved because of the threat to public health posed by the Zika virus, a Portuguese bug expert at the Institute of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine has said Portugal runs a “high risk” for the introduction of mosquitos carrying the potentially life-changing virus. Carlos Sousa warns Zika could arrive here via cargoes of used tyres, or bamboo goods.

The Zika-carrying Aedes aegypti mosquito has been known to migrate this way, and indeed the World Health Organisation – which has rejected the threat that the medics claim the Rio Olympics pose – has reviewed its Zika alert for the island of Madeira and the coast of the Black Sea from low to moderate, reports Correio da Manhã today.

The Zika virus has been linked to a number of permanent and semi-permanent effects on humans, the most worrying being microcephaly in newborns whose mothers contract the virus while pregnant, and the neurological syndrome known as Guillain-Barré which causes muscle weakness and paralysis.

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