The zika virus, which causes deformities in babies, has been identified in 60 people in the Netherlands since the beginning of this year, according to public health institute RIVM.
A ‘small number’ of them were pregnant at the time, the RIVM said. All 60 people picked up the virus abroad. Zika is found in 48 countries, including Brazil, Aruba, Curacao, Mexico and Jamaica.
The actual total may be higher because only one in five people suffer symptoms of the disease, which include joint pain, fever and a rash. A spokesman for the RIVM could not give broadcaster NOS any more information about the health of those who have reported symptoms.
The RIVM said it is extremely unlikely that the virus will spread in the Netherlands because the mosquito which carries it is not found here. Most people catch the disease after being bitten by a mosquito although a couple of examples of transfer via sexual contact have been reported.