Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro said on Thursday that three people had died of complications linked to the mosquito-borne Zika virus and that suspected cases of Zika had risen to 5,221.
Brazil said on Thursday that three people who died last year had the Zika virus, although authorities could not confirm that Zika alone was responsible for their deaths.
Only one in five people infected with Zika experience illness and even then they are normally mild symptoms. The virus is still poorly understood by scientists and no proof yet exists to show it causes the birth deformations or any reported deaths.
"We have 319 confirmed cases, of which unfortunately 68 presented complications and we've had three deaths due to Zika nationally," Maduro said during a broadcast on state television.
He did not provide details of the deaths and did not mention the number of pregnant women thought to have the virus. The Health Ministry did not respond to earlier requests for information on the number of pregnant women with Zika.
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