WHO to meet to discuss global health emergency designation for virus.
The Centers for Disease and Control (CDC) recently announced there have been 31 cases of the Zika virus infections in the United States, but so far it appears all of them have been infected in Latin America, and not while in the US.
The virus has been reported in 11 states, including a pregnant woman in New York and two other pregnant women in Illinois and at least 20 people have been infected in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, according to an article on ABC News.
Currently, there is no vaccine to treat the virus, but the World Health Organization (WHO) says it expects 3-4 million people will be infected over the next year, and has called for a meeting this week to decide if the spread of the virus should be declared a global emergency.
Health officials in the US don’t think the virus will affect many in the country, unless you are traveling to one of the areas of infection. It takes a certain species of the mosquito to spread the virus, and they are normally only found in the southernmost parts of the country, in the states of Florida, Texas, Louisiana, and Hawaii.
Also, this time of year, then colder weather prevents mosquitoes from actively breeding, and coupled with a lack of infected people for the mosquitoes to bite, the spread of the virus is somewhat contained. But as the summer months approach, mosquito breeding will increase again, especially in the southern part of the country.
The CDC says it considers Florida a prime risk area, because of the correct type of mosquito and a preponderance of travelers to the area. Researchers don’t yet know if a single bite from an infected mosquito can spread the virus, or how long a mosquito has to be infected before it can transmit the disease.
The CDC also advises pregnant women to speak with their physicians about any traveling they have done, because about 80 percent of all people who get the virus don’t even know they have it. The remaining 20 percent may experience a rash, fever or pink eye, but rarely does it cause a serious illness.
Though the number of infection cases in the US is not likely to be widespread, officials still caution everyone to protect themselves from being bitten by mosquitoes by using sprays and wearing long sleeves and long pants when outside.