53 cases of Zika confirmed in UK after 3 patients test positive in Yorkshire

© Nguyen Huy Kham
Three people were treated for the Zika virus in Yorkshire after returning from overseas, bringing the total number of cases to 53, Public Health England (PHE) confirmed.

The cases were reported by the Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust on Friday. They emerged in an infection control report at a meeting of the Trust on Thursday.

Dr Gavin Boyd, head of infection control at the Calderdale and Huddersfield hospitals, told the Yorkshire Post there “is no specific treatment for Zika and it usually wears off naturally after two to seven days.

“After a diagnosis patients are cared for by their GPs if needed.”

“There is extremely low risk of contracting Zika virus in the UK as the mosquito that transmits the infection is not present in the UK, however it can be spread by sexual transmission,” Boyd added.

The virus has been declared a “global public health emergency” by the World Health Organization (WHO) and has become a major health issue in Latin America.

It can be carried by mosquitos and is also thought to be sexually transmitted.

The National Health Service (NHS) recommends “pregnant women postpone non-essential travel to areas with active Zika transmission until after pregnancy.

“Discuss your travel plans with your GP, practice nurse or a travel clinic. If travel is unavoidable, then you should take extra care to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.”

Professor Paul Cosford, medical director of PHE said the risk of contracting the virus for the general public was relatively low, according to the Guardian.

“We expect to see small numbers of Zika virus infections in travellers returning to the UK, but the risk to the wider population is very low as the mosquito that spreads the Zika virus is not found in the UK,” Cosford said.

“As of July 2016, over 50 cases have been diagnosed in UK travellers since January 2016. Public Health England is monitoring the international situation closely and the risk to the UK remains unchanged,” he added.