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More countries confirm discovery of Zika virus cases

Countries including South Africa and Trinidad and Tobago have confirmed their first cases of Zika virus.

More than 5,000 pregnant women in Colombia have contracted the virus, its government has said.

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Brazil urged to drop abortion ban in face of Zika outbreak

A pregnant woman reads a government campaign poster informing about Zika virus symptoms Credit: PA

A group of Brazilian activists, lawyers and scientists are to petition the country's supreme court in a bid to drop strict bars on abortion while the Zika virus sweeps the country, according to reports.

Brazil outlaws abortions in almost all cases at present, with women facing up to three years in jail for breaking the law.

The country's leaders have been urged to change that policy in the face of the Zika virus. It has been strongly linked to microcephaly, a serious brain deformities in unborn children whose mothers catch the virus.

The upcoming supreme court bid will argue that Brazil is responsible for the current Zika outbreak by failing to wipe out the Aedes mosquitoes that carry it, according to the BBC.

It says that women "should not be penalised for the consequences of flawed policies", according to the reports.

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