Zika outbreak confirmed in Tonga

  • 05/02/2016

The tiny South Pacific island nation of Tonga has declared an outbreak of the Zika virus after five cases of the mosquito-borne illness were confirmed.

Chief medical officer Dr Reynold Ofanoa said that officials became suspicious after a sharp rise in the number of patients suffering acute fever and rashes since the beginning of the year.

He says they are looking into another 259 suspected cases.

"We were suspecting a probable outbreak of either Zika, dengue or chikungunya," he told Reuters, referring to two other mosquito-borne viruses.

"So we sent the blood specimens for testing overseas and when we obtained the results it showed that we've got confirmed positive blood tests for Zika."

There were no immediate plans to introduce travel restrictions in or out of the country, he said.