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February 3, 2016 — The World Health Organization has declared the rapid spread of the Zika virus a global health emergency. According to an Annals of Internal Medicine article, the virus was initially detected in Brazil in March 2015 and has been identified in several South American countries, Central America, the Caribbean, and Mexico. Transmission has also occurred in travelers returning from the infected regions to countries including the United States, Canada, Japan, and Western Europe.
Zika virus is spread to humans through mosquito bites with additional risk for infection via blood transfusion and sexual activity. Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon; however, the CDC has issued a travel alert for people traveling to regions and countries where Zika virus transmission is ongoing, and recommended special precautions for pregnant women and women trying to become pregnant. The notice follows reports of microcephaly and other poor pregnancy outcomes in babies of mothers who were infected with Zika virus while pregnant.
For the latest information on news and information on Zika virus, check with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website: http://www.cdc.gov/zika/