U.S. officials are gearing up for the onset of locally transmitted cases of the mosquito-borne Zika virus that is spreading rapidly throughout Latin American and the Caribbean.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers Zika to be the definitive cause of an epidemic of birth defects in Brazil and other countries with outbreaks of the virus. It also causes Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare condition in which the body attacks its own nerve cells, causing paralysis. The agency warned the virus is “scarier than we initially thought.”
The virus, largely spread by mosquitoes, can sometimes be transmitted sexually or through blood transfusions. The World Health Organization declared the outbreak a “public health emergency of international concern.”
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