Since being first detected in 2014 in the Western hemisphere, the mosquito-spread Zika virus has affected over 24 countries and territories in the Western Hemisphere.
The virus is linked to paralyzing neurological conditions, such as Guillain-Barré syndrome and microcephaly resulting in severe birth defects in newborn babies. In adults the virus causes symptoms similar to dengue fever such as fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis however in 60 to 80% of cases, individuals are asymptomatic.
The World Health Organisation (WHO), has called the outbreak of Zika a global public health emergency and has called for increased surveillance on cases of possible viral outbreaks and microcephaly. WHO has stated up to four million people in the Americas could become infected.
WHO have advised pregnant women to consider delaying travel to areas affected by Zika and to seek advice from their physician if they are living in areas affected by Zika. All travelers are advised to protect themselves against mosquito bites by wearing repellent.