WASHINGTON – Transmission of the Zika virus has been reported in 62 countries or territories, spread from person to person by mosquitos or through sex, the World Health Organization said in its latest situation report released on Thursday.
“The global prevention and control strategy launched by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a Strategic Response Framework encompasses surveillance, response activities and research,” the report stated.
A birth defect characterised by undersize heads and poor brain development has been reported in six nations, led by Brazil with more than 1,000 Zika-linked cases confirmed by the WHO. Press reports from Brazil paint an even grimmer picture, claiming more than 5,000 babies have been born with the condition since the Zika outbreak began in 2015.
In addition, single cases of condition linked to recent travel to Brazil by pregnant women or their partners have been reported in the United States and in Slovenia, the report noted.
About 80 percent of people infected with the Zika show no symptoms and are unaware they have ever contracted the virus, possibly accounting for the difference in reports of babies with the crippling affliction in Brazil.
The disease can be transmitted through sex with an infected partner, but the vast majority of cases have been spread by the Aedes mosquito, which is present throughout the Southern United States.