Six pregnant Mexican women infected with Zika

A government employee fumigates a home against the Aedes aegypti mosquito to prevent the spread of the Zika virus in Acapulco, Mexico on February 2, 2016 (AFP Photo/Pedro Pardo)

Mexico City (AFP) - Six pregnant women have been infected with Zika in Mexico, the health ministry said Tuesday, amid global fears that the mosquito-borne virus causes a severe birth defect.

The women are among 80 total Zika cases in Mexico, with more than half of them reported in the southern impoverished state of Chiapas, the ministry said.

Among the pregnant women, four are in Chiapas, one in the southern state of Oaxaca and another in Veracruz in the east.

Zika normally causes mild flu-like symptoms and a rash, or goes unnoticed altogether.

But rising anxiety about the virus is driven by its strongly suspected link to microcephaly, which causes babies to be born with abnormally small heads, and the Guillain-Barre syndrome, a severe neurological disorder.

Brazil has been most affected by the outbreak that has spread rapidly through Latin America and the Caribbean, with 1.5 million people in the country infected since early 2015.

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