London: Three Britons who returned to the UK from South and Central America have been infected with a disease linked to brain deformities in babies, Public Health England has said.
The three travellers picked up the Zika virus, which is linked to brain deformities in babies, through mosquito bites in Colombia, Suriname and Guyana, the official health body confirmed.
Pregnant women have been warned not to travel to countries where the infection has been reported.
PHE said Zika “does not occur naturally” in the UK and added: “As of 18 January 2016, three cases associated with travel to Colombia, Suriname and Guyana have been diagnosed in UK travellers.”
The virus is transmitted through mosquito bites and “is not spread directly from person to person”, according to PHE.
“A small number of cases have occurred through sexual transmission or by transmission from mother to foetus via the placenta,” a spokesman said.