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Arizona health department reports 2 more cases of Zika virus

(AP Photo)

PHOENIX — Health officials in Arizona said two more cases of Zika virus have been confirmed, the third diagnosis in the state.

In each instance, the person had been traveling in areas where the virus has been widely circulating.

The Zika virus causes at worst a mild and brief illness in most people.

But the virus poses a threat to pregnant women. In the past year, the virus has been associated with devastating birth defects mainly in Brazil.

The Centers for Disease Control said 157 pregnant women in the United States have tested positive for the Zika virus.

A week ago, the CDC reported there were 113 pregnant women who met the clinical criteria for Zika.

In a change announced Friday, the CDC’s count will include all women who tested positive, regardless of symptoms.

The virus causes microcephaly and brain abnormalities in developing babies. In some cases it has caused miscarriages.

Symptoms include fever, rash and conjunctivitis.

The first case in Arizona was verified in March. An older woman was infected while she was in one of the affected areas outside the the U.S.

Maricopa County has begun testing mosquitoes for the virus in addition to testing for West Nile virus.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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