Zika virus: means pregnant women should be cautious when traveling

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The World Health Organization says the virus is "spreading explosively", and estimates there could be three to four million cases of Zika in the Americas over the next year.

WHO's announcement underscores the speed with which a virus that began as an obscure tropical malady afflicting Africa and then several remote Western Pacific islands has transformed into a major worldwide health concern, particularly in the Americas.

"Locally transmitted Zika virus has been reported in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico", the agency said.

As many as 1.5 million Brazilians may have been infected with the Zika virus since its arrival in the country last spring. The most common symptoms of Zika virus are fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes.

"We do not believe there will be a major outbreak of Zika in the United States", Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy & Infections Disease, said.

The Zika virus is linked with the birth defect microcephaly, which sees children born with abnormally small brains, along with a neurological syndrome which can cause paralysis.

Dr Lokman was quoted as saying that the risks were high for Malaysians because they had no immunity to the Zika virus, making it likely that the disease could spread very quickly.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is advising against travel to more than 20 South and Central American countries if a person is pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant. The organization works with low-income pregnant women.

According to a release from the commission, the patient, who lives in Boston, contracted Zika while traveling overseas in a region where the virus has been spreading.

Health officials have been grappling with how to stop the virus, which is spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito.

"The largest part of the problem is for Canadians who are thinking of getting pregnant or who are pregnant, due to their offspring", she said, cautioning them to postpone travel to affected countries.