Zika outbreak reaches Caribbean

The sweet call of vacation, sun, and crystal blue water beaches is hard to ignore as New York is covered in snow with matching frigid temperatures.

Before logging into your favorite cheap flight website, be sure to check on whether your particular destination is battling the Zika virus.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Zika virus “is spread to people through mosquito bites.”

The Pan American Health Organization issued an initial alert regarding the first confirmed virus infection in Brazil last May. This particular outbreak in Brazil led to a subsequent report detailing pregnant women subsequently giving birth to babies with birth defects, suffering poor pregnancy outcomes, and Guillain-Barre syndrome – a disorder where the body’s immune system attacks part of the peripheral nervous system.

Currently, the Zika outbreak is garnering special attention due to rapid reports of cases surfacing through Latin America, the Caribbean, and in the United States.

According to Dr. Margaret Chan, the World Health Organization’s director-general, the Zika virus is “now spreading explosively. The level of concern is high, as is the level of uncertainty. We need to get some answers quickly.”

Dr. Sylvain Aldighieri, an official with the World Health Organization and Pan American Health Organization, provided an estimate for Zika infections — including those who have not yet reported — based on data in regards to the spread of different mosquito-borne virus, stating that it is at a “very high intensity.”

Those infected with the Zika virus may experience relatively mild symptoms like fever, rash, joint pain, or pink eye. Though these symptoms are mild the danger is higher for pregnant women due to the high risk related to birth defects.

The mosquito-borne disease is in 23 countries and territories in the Americas, including: Brazil, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Haiti, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Currently, there is no cure for the Zika virus but there are reports that there is a search for one due to its increasing spread.

Reach reporter Alley Olivier at (718) 260–8310 or e-mail her at aoliv[email protected]nglocal.com. Follow Alley on Twitter @All3Y_B.

More from Around NYC