Zika virus spreads to new areas — region of the Americas, May 2015–January 2016
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Zika virus spreads to new areas — region of the Americas, May 2015–January 2016

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  • Journal Article:
    MMWR. Morbidity and mortality weekly report
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    What is already known on this topic? Zika virus is a mosquito-borne flavivirus transmitted primarily by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. Most infections are asymptomatic, and symptomatic disease generally is mild. In May 2015, the first local transmission of Zika virus in the Region of the Americas was reported in Brazil. Following the spread of Zika virus in Brazil, there has been a marked reported increase in the number of infants born with microcephaly; it is not known how many of these cases are associated with Zika virus infection.

    What is added by this report? By mid-January 2016, local Zika virus transmission had been reported to the Pan American Health Organization from 20 countries or territories in the Region of the Americas; spread to other countries in the region is likely. Although local transmission of Zika virus has not been documented in the continental United States, infections have been reported among travelers visiting or returning to the United States, and these likely will increase. Imported cases might result in local transmission in limited areas of the continental United States.

    What are the implications for public health practice? The best way to prevent Zika virus infection is to avoid mosquito bites by avoiding exposure and eliminating mosquito breeding areas. Until more is known, pregnant women should consider postponing travel to any area with ongoing Zika virus transmission. Health care providers should contact their state or local health department about testing patients with symptoms of Zika virus infection and a compatible travel history.

    Suggested citation for this article: Hennessey M, Fischer M, Staples JE. Zika Virus Spreads to New Areas — Region of the Americas, May 2015–January 2016. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2016;65(Early Release):1–4. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6503e1er.


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