Zika updates: Venezuela reports third death from virus

In Venezuela, 68 patients are being treated in intensive care for complications from the infection.

Venezuela reported three deaths from the Zika virus so far while Brazil said a third person died from the mosquito-borne infection in the country.

Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro said on Thursday 319 people in the country were confirmed to have the infection.

"Unfortunately we have had three deaths from Zika nationwide," Maduro said on national television.

He added 68 patients were being treated in intensive care for complications from the infection.

Meanwhile, Brazilian health authorities said there has been a third death linked to Zika virus. They said they could not confirm if Zika was the sole cause of the death of the 20-year-old woman.

Colombia, the country with the second highest number of infections, has also reported three deaths caused by the virus.

Around 1.5 million people in Brazil have been infected since early 2015, making it the worst affected country. Maduro said 5,221 suspected cases of Zika have been reported in the last four months alone.

Zika virus causes microcephaly, a foetal deformation in which infants are born with smaller-than-usual brains. Brazil has confided hundreds of cases of microcephaly in children while dozens of children have died from the disease.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the rise in cases of brain damage in newborn babies caused by Zika virus a global public health emergency.

According to the WHO the virus has spread to 26 countries in the central and south Americas. Cases have also been reported in the Southeast Asia, Europe and New Zealand.

In the US, President Barack Obama has sought $1.8 billion in emergency funds to fight the spread of the disease in the Americas.

In Singapore, experts have said the country is vulnerable to the virus. Authorities have said they are actively considering precautionary measures against the virus.

China said this week it confirmed the first case of Zika virus infection in the country.