Domenica, 07 Febbraio 2016 11:12 | MAP: The spread of the Zika virus

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Cape Town - The recent outbreak and spread of the Zika virus has forced many travellers to delay travels to the Americas, with the World Health Organization declaring the virus a global emergency.

While travellers were warned to stay clear of areas in the Americas - Spain has just confirmed a pregnant woman has been diagnosed with the Zika virus, and that the virus may be spreading further and faster than many travellers might actually be anticipating.

READ: SAA issues Zika travel advisory for its Johannesburg - Sao Paulo flights

The UN agency took the emergency step despite the lack of conclusive evidence proving the mosquito-borne virus is causing a surge in babies born with brain defects and abnormally small heads in Brazil and French Polynesia - The WHO was previously criticized for taking too long to declare 2014's Ebola outbreak an international public health emergency and is erring on the side of caution this time.

According to Statista - other European countries such as Ireland and Denmark reported infections - but Spain's case was the first to involve a pregnant woman.

READ: Emirates offers refunds on flights booked to Zika affected countries

While the virus has been present for over 60 years, only recently has it exploded into pandemic proportions.

Dr Anthony Costello, Director of the World Health Organisation's Department of Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health has answered some key question on Microcephaly and Zika virus infection. Take a look at this...

The Zika virus presents similar symptoms to the dengue and chikungunya viruses, explains Statista.

Travellers have been warned that transmission is active across the Americas, Pacific islands and Cape Verde - as detailed in this recent infographic Map by Statista - highlighting countries and territories with active Zika virus transmission is present.

Infographic: The Spread Of The Zika Virus | Statista
You will find more statistics at Statista

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