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PAHO describes Zika virus as 'notorious'

Published:Sunday | May 8, 2016 | 12:00 AM

A year after the Zika outbreak in Latin America and the Caribbean, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has said the epidemic has taken the Americas by surprise, noting that the virus has become “notorious”.

In a release on the first anniversary of the outbreak, PAHO says researchers on several continents are still scrambling to discover more about Zika. And, health authorities in the Americas are struggling to raise awareness of the potentially devastating impact of the virus without causing undue alarm.

PAHO says Aedes Aegypti mosquitoes have transmitted the Zika virus to 57 countries and territories, 38 of them in the Americas.

Sexual transmission of the virus has also been confirmed in nine countries, and almost 1,300 cases of microcephaly or birth defects have been reported, the vast majority in Brazil.