India to issue travel alert, screen passengers from Zika-hit countries

Fearing an outbreak, India is issuing a travel alert on Saturday asking pregnant women to avoid travel to the 24 countries and territories where the Zika virus is suspected to cause microcephaly, a condition in which babies are born with abnormally small heads and brain damage.

Each year, 26 million babies are born in India, which puts several thousands of them at risk from getting infected and developing abnormalities in the womb.

Unlike the influenza viruses such as H1N1 (swine flu), Zika infection does not spread directly from people to people. Transmission occurs only when a mosquito gets infected after feeding on an infected person and spreads the infection to other people it feeds on.

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