A specialist fumigates the Nueva Esperanza graveyard in the outskirts of Lima on January 15, 2016. Health officials fumigated the largest cemetery in Peru and second largest in the world to prevent Chikunguya and Zika virus, which affect several countries in the Americas. ERNESTO BENAVIDES/AFP/Getty Images)

By NAN Staff Writer

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Weds. Jan. 20, 2016: The Zika virus is now impacting 18 countries across the Americas according to the World Health Organization, (WHO).

Countries where the Zika virus has been reported are:  Brazil, Barbados, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Saint Martin, Suriname and Venezuela.

Between November 2015 and January 2016, local transmission of the virus was detected in 14 new countries and territories.

PAHO confirmed the presence of the Zika virus in Haiti this month while the Ministry of Health in Guyana reported its first case also recently.  In Barbados, media quoting the Ministry of Health, report that eight suspected cases of Zika are currently under investigation while three cases each were reported each in Guadeloupe, Saint-Barthélemy and Saint-Martin

The virus was first reported in the Americas in Brazil, where according to Brazilian health authorities, more than 3,500 cases were reported between October 2015 and January 2016, affecting 724 municipalities in 21 states along with 46 deaths. Two of these cases are miscarriages and two are newborns who died in the first 24 hours of life.

Zika is a viral disease transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito that causes fever, muscle and joint pain, headache, nausea and rash. These symptoms normally last for 2-7 days.

There is no specific treatment or vaccine currently available. The best form of prevention is protection against mosquito bites. The virus is known to circulate in Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific.

The Centers for Disease Control this week issued a health advisory warning pregnant women to postpone travel to any area where Zika virus transmission is ongoing.

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