Zika Virus Alert


If you’re planning international travel this summer, you’ve probably seen recent news stories highlighting outbreaks of the Zika virus in Brazil and other locations. Transmitted by mosquitos, the virus may also be sexually transmitted and has been shown to cause microcephaly in some children born to women who contract the virus during pregnancy.

Here are some other facts about the Zika virus from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • Prior to 2015, Zika virus outbreaks occurred in areas of Africa, Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands. Local mosquito-borne transmission of Zika virus has been reported in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and America Samoa. Currently, outbreaks are occurring in many countries.
  • In May 2015, the Pan American Health Organization issued an alert regarding the first confirmed Zika virus infections in Brazil.
  • Zika virus will continue to spread and it will be difficult to determine how and where the virus will spread over time.
  • As of April 6, no local mosquito-borne Zika virus disease cases were reported in the U.S., but there have been cases reported that were associated with travel.
  • 80 percent of cases will not be diagnosed.

For more information and to see the CDC’s updated travel warnings on Zika virus, go to cdc.gov/zika/geo/index.html.

Katherine Kopp is a freelance writer in Chapel Hill.

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