13 Jul 2016

Suspected Zika cases over 700 in American Samoa

11:00 am on 13 July 2016

The number of people seen at the American Samoa's hospital and community health centres with symptoms of the Zika virus has reached 730.

As of last week, off island-testing of blood samples from the suspected cases, confirmed 43 Zika cases, 16 of those cases are pregnant mothers.

So far none of the babies born to pregnant mothers who had Zika have shown the birth defect microzephaly, now common in South America, which is characterised by a smaller than usual head of babies born of mothers who contracted Zika during their pregnancies.

Already the spread of the Zika virus in American Samoa has resulted in some visitors cancelling plans to visit the territory.

The most high profile case saw University of Michigan and former NFL Coach, Jim Harbaugh, cancelling his football camp in American Samoa due to what he called doctors orders and as a precaution for his wife who is pregnant.