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US health secretary in Puerto Rico amid Zika outbreak

Published:Thursday | April 28, 2016 | 12:00 AM


The US secretary of health and human services is in Puerto Rico to oversee the US territory's response to a Zika outbreak.

Sylvia Burwell arrived on Tuesday and met with the island's governor and health-care officials as part of a two-day trip.

Puerto Rico has 550 cases of the mosquito-borne virus that can be spread through sexual contact. Officials said 71 of them involve pregnant women. Zika can cause severe birth defects such as babies being born with abnormally small heads. None of the pregnant women diagnosed with Zika in Puerto Rico have had babies with any deformities. A total of 16 people have been hospitalised.

US legislators are expected to soon vote on a bill to partially fund President Barack Obama's US$1.9-billion request to fight Zika.