HONOLULU (AP) - Health officials say a baby born in a Hawaii hospital is the first in the US with a birth defect linked to the Zika virus, a tropical illness now found in Latin American and Caribbean countries.
Aside from the concerns with pregnant women contracting the virus, Dr. Karpovs says Zika is usually mild, with only one in five people noticing symptoms.
What's scary about this mosquito-borne virus is its apparent link to severe birth defects, especially microcephaly, a neurological condition that prevents the development of a full-sized brain.
Although Zika virus is not a reportable disease in the United States, the agency did encourage health care providers to report suspected cases to their local or state health departments, which should report laboratory-confirmed cases to the CDC's ArboNET surveillance system.
"It's important to emphasize that the only way a person can be infected by this virus is through a mosquito bite".
There are three confirmed cases of the Zika virus in the state of Florida.
"It is recommended that women postpone - to the extent possible - the decision to become pregnant until the country can move out of the epidemic phase of the Zika virus", reads a statement released by Colombia's Ministry of Health earlier this month.
No U.S. mosquitoes have been found to be carrying the virus. Since 2013, cases and outbreaks of the disease have been reported from the Western Pacific, the Americas and Africa. The baby contracted the virus from his mother, who was in Brazil during her pregnancy, according to KHLN in Hawaii.
The disease is not contagious and for most people who catch it, it will only last a few days. The project will be driven towards Piracicaba in Brazl, which is now the most affected by the Zika virus. "However, cases of Zika have been reported in returning travelers", said health department spokesman Donna Leusner.
"It's a virus that causes problems with fevers, muscle aches, sometimes headaches, chills, pink eye", said Dr. Karpovs. Cases have been reported in Florida. It is believed that Zika virus caused the brain damage of more than 3,500 babies born in these areas.
The travel alert applies to Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Suriname, Venezuela and Puerto Rico.