07 October, 2016
It added that Zika virus is considered endemic in some of these countries and many people who live there are like immune but United States travelers to the areas where Zika is endemic may not be immune to the virus and infections have occurred in travelers to Southeast Asia.
Brazil recently reported 1,949 confirmed cases of microcephaly believed to be linked to Zika infections in pregnant women.
"Because of the risk of birth defects in babies born to women who were infected with Zika while pregnant, women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant should discuss their travel plans with their doctor and consider postponing nonessential travel to the Philippines", the CDC said.
People infected with Zika may have a mild fever, skin rash, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain and fatigue that can last for two to seven days. Earlier, Singapore's Health Ministry said tests found that the Zika virus here likely evolved from the Asian strain, which means it was not imported from South America. Closely associated with Zika because of the mosquito connection, the Dengue virus can actually have more significant health implications for those infected.
In Thailand, a total of 349 Zika cases have been confirmed since January, including 32 pregnant women, while Singapore has recorded 393, including 16 pregnant women.
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Countries across the Region must continue to strengthen measures aimed at preventing, detecting and responding to Zika virus transmission, said Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia.
Meanwhile, a study published on Thursday in the Cell Host & Microbe journal said the Zika virus can infect and alter cells in the human nervous system that are crucial for formation of bones and cartilage in the skull.
Since Zika can be transmitted sexually, the CDC also now recommends that men should use condoms for at least six months after potentially being exposed to the virus to avoid the risk of passing the infection to their partners.
The WHO also urges the householders and community groups to be on the frontlines to control mosquitos. As per the statement, two allegations of microcephaly - a congenital disability where a baby's head is smaller than usual, came to the forefront one day after the recommendation of the USA health officials to avoid non-essential travels to 11 Southeast Asian countries. Second, pregnant women are advised to protect themselves from mosquito bites. The virus was first identified in Uganda in 1947 in rhesus monkeys and was first identified in people in 1952 in Uganda and Tanzania, according to the WHO.