Cancun, Q.R. — With the recent Zika virus health declaration by WHO, the state of Quintana Roo remains virus free. The World Health Organization made the health emergency announcement in an attempt to signal the seriousness of the outbreak.
The Zika virus, which is transmitted by certain mosquitoes, has been linked to birth defects in pregnant women. The virus was detected in Brazil in May and has since made its way to more than 20 Latin American countries including Mexico.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Zika virus was detected for the first time in Mexico in October of 2015, however, the Mexico Ministry of Health says the state of Quintana Roo remains Zika virus free.
State governor, Roberto Borge Angulo, stresses that the state continues with strategies to strengthen measures to prevent an outbreak of the virus. He has sent a personal message to tourism service providers, travel agents and tour operators that protocols and preventive measures are applied in strict compliance and that the state has established procedures for the care and comfort of those who live and visitor the state.
The Zika virus is a mosquito-transmitted infection related to dengue, yellow fever and West Nile virus.
It is spread by mosquitoes of the Aedes genus and the aggressive yellow fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti, which has spread most Zika cases, but that mosquito is common in the United States only in Florida, along the Gulf Coast and in Hawaii. The Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus, is also known to transmit the virus, but it is not clear how efficiently.
Until now, almost no one on this side of the world had been infected, however, since few people are immune to the virus it is spreading quickly. For most people who do become infected, the virus causes no lasting harms.
Scientific concern is focused on pregnant women who become infected as they develop a temporary form of paralysis after exposure to the virus. The virus is also possibly linked to microcephaly, a condition that causes babies to be born with abnormally small heads. The two latest countries that have recorded the Zika virus include Costa Rica and Jamaica.