This week, the World Health Organization, (WHO) released a statement saying that the Zika virus, the mosquito-borne disease on a rampage in South America that gives babies serious brain defects, is going to spread to almost every country in South, Central and North America.
Canada and Chile are not on the list of countries to be affected as the infected mosquitoes-Aedes mosquitoes- aren’t present in these colder climates.
Twenty-one countries and territories of the Americas have now reported cases of the virus, which had its first case reported in Brazil in May 2015.
The virus is particularly dangerous, as it causes babies in pregnant mothers who become infected and to be born with extra small brains, suffering from microcephaly.
Due to these devastating effects, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has urged pregnant women to postpone travel to the following countries: Bolivia, Brazil, Cape Verde, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Saint Martin, Suriname, Samoa, Venezuela and Puerto Rico.
The CDC also recommends that women who have recently traveled to these places and are pregnant, be screened and monitored for the virus as their pregnancy develops.
According to the WHO, the virus is spreading quickly throughout the Americas because people lack immunity, as they haven’t had previous exposure.
There is no current treatment available for those who become infected with the virus, and governments of infected areas are urging women to postpone pregnancy for a year or more until the outbreak dies down.
People at risk of exposure are also strongly encouraged to cover up and wear mosquito repellent for protection.
Aedes mosquitoes are said to bite 24 hours a day, and constant vigilance is recommended.