None of the cases involve pregnant women, Rius said, adding that the
health department was taking preventive measures against the
mosquito-borne virus, which has been linked to serious birth
defects, and was prepared to conduct future testing as more
suspected cases are expected in the future.
Puerto Rico reported its first case of Zika in December. The 18
cases referenced are in addition to that first case, according to
the governor's office.
The commonwealth's epidemiologist, Brenda Rivera, said that over 300
tests have been conducted so far for Zika in Puerto Rico.
U.S. health officials are stepping up efforts to study the link
between Zika infections and birth defects in infants amid
predictions for widespread circulation of the virus within the
United States during warmer months.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention earlier in
January issued a travel warning for countries and territories where
infection with Zika is a risk, which included Puerto Rico.
[to top of second column]
Rius said that the CDC is in talks with the Puerto Rico government
to implement preventive measures at the islandís ports of entry and
informative pamphlets would be given to tourists.
(Reporting by a contributor in San Juan; Writing by Megan Davies;
Editing by James Dalgleish)
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