Experts: USA must prepare now for Zika virus (
The U.S. public health officials must prepare now for the inevitable arrival of Zika virus, a mosquito-borne infection that has spread to 21 countries in the Americas and is linked to a surge in birth defects in Brazil, health experts said.The virus is expected to spread to the United States and every country in the Western hemisphere where the Aedes mosquitoes are known to live, according to the Pan American Health Organization. 

Aedes mosquitoes, which spread the virus, live in every Western hemisphere country but Canada and Chile.
International air travel will help the virus spread quickly, said Lawrence Gostin, director of the O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University in Washington. Zika doesn't spread from person to person. But people who are infected while traveling have the potential to spread the virus in the USA if they are bitten by local mosquitoes, which can then spread the infection to others in the area.Zika "will certainly come to the United States, and I think it will come fairly rapidly," Gostin said. 

"We are likely to see potential fetal abnormalities. It's a really serious problem."Although scientists have known about Zika virus since the 1940s, it was never considered a serious threat until a few months ago, when Brazil reported an enormous increase in the number of babies born with microcephaly, a condition in which babies are born with small heads and incomplete brain development. Brazil has reported more than 3,500 cases since this fall; the country usually has 100 to 200 microcephaly cases per year.

Scientists don't know why Zika is spreading so quickly or why the outbreak has been particularly bad in Brazil,  said Christian Lindmeier, a spokesman for the World Health Organization....continue reading...

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