The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), part of the World Health Organization (WHO), released a statement this week following the continued spread of the Zika virus across the Americas.
PAHO gave two main reasons for the spread – the population of the Americas has not been exposed to the virus before so no immunity exists and mosquitoes that are present in every country across the continent with the exception of Canada and Chile.
While the spread of the virus is alarming, PAHO recommended two preventative tips, including reducing mosquito populations and using personal protection from mosquito bites.
PAHO said that mosquitos have a tendency to breed in containers that hold a small amount of water. Emptying these types of containers can reduce the spread of other viruses such as dengue fever and chikuvgunya. Additionally, the organization said that all people living in or visiting areas affected by the virus should use insect repellant, wear clothing that covers most of the body and use physical barriers like screens to contain the spread of the virus.
The Zika virus itself can be transmitted through blood. This is, however, an infrequent mechanism for transmission.