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Last Updated Friday October 20 2017 12:32 PM IST

Zika virus: What you need to know

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Zika virus: What you need to know Travelers at the airport. Photo: iStock

The Zika virus, linked to brain damage in newborns has been spreading in places - and fast. And travelling to the affected countires, in turn puts you on a risk.

Recently, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in USA, added the Dominican Republic and the US Virgin Islands on its growing list of areas in which, the zika virus has been reported. The virus has affected thousands across Americas and is expected to spread further according to the WHO.

Travel advisories have been issued across the world. And here is what you need to know

About the virus

The Zika virus has been linked to an illness known as microcephaly, or being born with a small head. It is a lifelong condition with no known cure. In mild cases, infants often have no symptoms other than small head size, but doctors still need to check their development regularly.

An estimated 80 per cent of people infected have no symptoms, making it difficult for pregnant women to know whether they have been infected.

There are no global estimates so far as to how many people in the world have been infected by the Zika virus, World Health Organization spokesman Christian Lindmeier said.

Travel advisories

In the US, cases have been reported in Florida, Illinois and Hawaii among people who returned after visiting the affected areas. The mosquito borne disease has been so far reported from Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Cape Verde, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, the US Virgin Islands, Venezuela among others. The scientific community is of the view that India would have developed a passive immunity for the virus because it is similar to the dengue virus.

But it is better to be safe than sorry and be alert if you are planning to visit the affected countries.

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