Washington, D.C., 8 January 2016 (PAHO/WHO) – Zika virus, which is transmitted to humans by infected Aedes aegypti mosquitos, causes symptoms including light fever, rash, conjunctivitis and muscle pain. Starting in March 2014 and through the first week of 2016, 14 countries and territories of the Americas reported cases of Zika infection. The Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) is working with its member countries in the region to prevent, detect and respond to this new threat.
A current concern is the effect of Zika virus on pregnant women and newborn babies. In November 2015, the Ministry of Health of Brazil noted a marked increase in microcephaly (in which the head circumference of newborns is smaller than expected) that coincided with Zika virus circulation in the country. With support from PAHO/WHO and other agencies, health authorities are carrying out studies to clarify the causes, risk factors, and consequences of this increase in microcephaly.
For more information visit: www.paho.org/zikavirus