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No More Worries as Australian Hospital Expands Zika Virus Testing Facilities

A hospital in the Australian state of Queensland has expanded its capacity to screen for the Zika virus, the Queensland state government announced on Friday.

Mosquito that transmits dengue and Zika virus.

Townsville Hospital located in the state of North Queensland, upgraded its pathology laboratory to screen for the Zika virus in all dengue fever cases.

Queensland state minister for health Cameron Dick said bolstering the testing capacity in North Queensland was a sensible and measured response to the major Zika virus outbreak in central and South America.

"The mosquito that transmits dengue and Zika virus is predominately found in North Queensland so it is prudent to boost our testing capacity in Townsville," Dick said.

"While we have had no local transmission of Zika in Queensland, it is important that we have appropriately resourced testing facilities on the ground."

Director of Townsville Public Health Unit Dr Steven Donohue said the additional equipment and funding would make a significant difference.

"Preventative work, community mobilization in removing mosquito breeding sites, quicker local testing and detection all play important roles in protecting our community from mosquito-borne illnesses," Donohue said.

There have been 18 imported cases of Zika virus in Queensland State to date so far in 2016.

The Asia-Pacific has been on high alert for the mosquito-borne virus, currently found in epidemic proportions in the Americans, following the declaration of a global emergency by the World Health Organization.

By Robert Muriisa.

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