The Zika virus is spread mostly by bites from infected Aedes aegypti or Aedes albopictus mosquitoes, but mother-to-child and sexual transmissions are also possible. Infected persons often have symptoms such as a low-grade fever, red eyes, joint pain, rash, and sometimes muscle pain and headache. As there are many other diseases with similar symptoms, there was no special attention paid to Zika until more recently. This rapidly changed after the latest outbreak in Brazil in 2015, when increased evidence pointed to infections with this virus which could cause serious birth defects and neurological problems. Among the most serious fetal brain damages due to Zika, microcephaly is perhaps the best-known.
The latest outbreak began in early 2015 in Brazil, although the first cases seemed to have already appeared in 2014. One theory is that the virus arrived during the 2014 Football World Cup. At the moment, Zika virus infections have been reported on all continents, however, the Americas are the most at-risk-part of the world. As of July 2016, some 93.4 million people were at risk of getting infected with Zika in Latin America and the Caribbean alone, of which some 1.7 million were childbearing women.
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