The Zambian High Commission in London has demanded a retraction of an article published in the Sun Newspaper, purporting that the Duchess of Sussex pulled out of a visit to Zambia due to Zika concerns.

The same article was also published by the Mail Online under the headline: “Exhausted Meghan pulled out of royal trip with Harry to Zambia amid fear over Zika virus”.

But the mission press office has said in a letter addressed to the print house that Zambia has never experienced any Zika case and has not been listed on the Center for Disease Control and Protection as a country that is prone to that disease.

Mission First Secretary for Press and Public Relations Abigail Chaponda said in a statement that the Zambia High Commission further advised the author of the article in question to research more on the matter.

“The Zambia High Commission in London has noted with disappointment an article that was published by The Sun, a UK Tabloid on Sunday, 25th November 2018, insinuating that the Duchess of Sussex pulled out of a visit to Zambia due to Zika concerns… We understand that there is freedom of expression, but the Sun editorial board should know that freedom comes with responsibility. Such unresearched and irresponsible reporting has the potential of damaging a country’s tourism and business prospects. In this regard, the Zambia High Commission demands without reservations, a public apology and a retraction of the story to be published with equal publicity immediately,” stated Chaponda.

Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle was expected to accompany her husband, Prince Harry Prince Harry on a two-day visit to Zambia on Monday 26 and Tuesday 27, 2018 but that she has instead opted to stay home due to “fear” of the Zika virus in Zambia.

The Zika virus disease is caused by a virus transmitted primarily by Aedes mosquitoes, which bite during the day. Symptoms are generally mild and include fever, rash, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise or headache.

The Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause infants to be born with microcephaly and other congenital malformations, known as congenital Zika syndrome.

Data by the World Health Organisation shows that the Zika virus was first identified in Uganda in 1947 in monkeys and it was later on identified in humans in 1952 in Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania. Outbreaks of Zika virus disease have also been recorded in the Americas, Asia and the Pacific.