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Zika Virus Will Spread Across American Nations Except Canada And Chile, WHO

Update Date: Jan 26, 2016 10:04 PM EST
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The Zika virus is geared up to spread everywhere, all over the Americas, except Canada and Chile, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced Sunday. These are the areas in which the 'Aedes aegypti' mosquitoes, are found. With large numbers of people being exposed to the Zika virus, the people here have not developed immunity to it.

"We've got no drugs and we've got no vaccines," Trudie Lang, a professor at the University of Oxford, told Reuters. "It's a case of deja vu because that's exactly what we were saying with Ebola."

Zika virus and its effects on health have not been explored much, although it is linked mostly with pregnant women giving birth to babies with microcephaly. Another link with the rare Guillain Barre syndrome is also possible. The illness can lead to paralysis and death.

Apart from the mosquito, the virus may be transmitted also through sexual contact, though it is not completely clear. It has been spotted in human semen.

Many countries, including Brazil, El Salvador, Colombia, Jamaica and Ecuador, have put out statements calling out for women to delay getting pregnant until more information becomes available, the Washington Post reported.

It is important to prevent mosquito bites and remove breeding areas of the insects, according to WHO.

"All people living in or visiting areas with 'Aedes' mosquitoes should protect themselves from mosquito bites by using insect repellent; wearing clothes (preferably light-colored) that cover as much of the body as possible; using physical barriers such as screens, closed doors and windows; and sleeping under mosquito nets, especially during the day when 'Aedes' mosquitoes are most active," the agency said.

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