The Zika virus might propagate across the American continent, warns the World Health Organisation. Given the link between the disease and microcephaly, pregnant women are recommended to take special care.
A number of cases involving Zika virus infections have been detected in 21 countries in North and South America as well as in the Caribbean. No treatment or vaccine is available; Zika transmission occurs through a bite of the Aedes mosquito.
The virus is thought to be particularly dangerous to foetuses: it has been associated with babies born with smaller brains, a condition called microcephaly. The current situation even caused Brazil to declare an emergency situation last December and authorities had advised women not to get pregnant because of the risk.
The virus is being spread because of an increasing number of the vector mosquitoes and due to a lack of natural immunity.
The situation has not abated since May 2015 when it was first detected in Brazil. Since October, over 3,500 cases of microcephaly have been reported in the country. The WHO has, therefore, cautioned pregnant women to show particular care. The organisation has also recently announced that the virus will most likely continue to spread and might reach countries where Aedes mosquitoes are found.
Therefore, people are recommended to protect themselves from the vector itself by abiding by the appropriate precautions such as using mosquito repellents.