The Zika virus has travelers cancelling their summer travel plans, especially pregnant women. Pregnant women are specially cautioned because the Zika virus can cause a serious birth defect called microcephaly among other severe fetal brain defects. The Zika virus is spread through infected Aedes mosquitos and some of the common symptoms of the virus are fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes. Is there anything travelers can do to protect themselves from contracting the virus?
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There is no cure for the Zika virus, which was first discovered in 1947 in the Zika Forest in Uganda. There’s been very few cases in the span of 50 years, but in 2015, the Pan American Health Organization issued an alert regarding the first confirmed Zika virus infection in Brazil. Then in February 2016, the World Health Organization declared Zika virus as a public health emergency of international concern. The virus has been detected all over the world, from Africa, Southeast Asia, Pacific Islands, Brazil, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, and even in the U.S.