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First Case Of Zika Virus Confirmed in the U.S.

Update Date: Jan 02, 2016 08:34 PM EST
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The Zika virus, carried by the mosquito, has attacked the U.S. according to a Congressman. He said on Thursday that the virus has been confirmed in Puerto Rico. Brazilian authorities are linking the virus to microcephaly, which is a congenital birth defect.

Throughout central and south America, Zika cases have been found in nations, including Brazil, Venezuela, Mexico, El Salvador, the Dominican Republic, Suriname, Paraguay, Guatemala and Colombia. Zika was first identified in Uganda by scientists in 1947.

Pedro Pierluisi, Puerto Rico's representative in Congress declared that his office has contacted the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and later, the government center confirmed that the case showed the Zika infection.

"There is no reason for alarm, and the public should take common sense steps to avoid mosquito bites, like using repellent and wearing long pants and shirts," Pierluisi said, according to Reuters.

Symptoms of the illness include a fever, rash, headaches and non-purulent conjunctivitis. You can see them three to 12 days after the mosquito bite and continue for almost one week, says the World Health Organization.

However, do not get misled by the symptoms. They are mild, but have a deadly link with "microcephaly", says the Brazil International Health Regulations. Microcephaly is a congenital birth defect that leads to an abnormally tiny head and improper development of the brain.

There have been at least 2,782 confirmed microcephaly cases in 2015. Potential mothers who are in the affected areas have been cautioned by the health officials to reconsider the decision to give birth to a baby.

"If [a potential mother] can wait, then she should," said Claudio Maierovitch, director of the Department of Surveillance of Communicable Diseases Claudio Maierovitch, according to the New York Times.

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