Dengue, chikungunya and Zika are spread by the same species of mosquito - known as the Aedes - and can be found in much of the United States of America, said Amesh Adalja, a senior associate at the Center for Health Security at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. "This rapid spread of Zika virus strains closely related to the French Polynesian strains, raises increasing concern for public health", the researchers concluded.
A resident of Texas who had traveled to El Salvador has been diagnosed with carrying the Zika virus. The symptoms appear two to seven days after infection, the vector (transmission agent) being the mosquito.
"The evidence is becoming very, very strong of the link between the two", said Dr. Lyle Petersen, director of mosquito-borne diseases at the CDC.
There is no vaccine or specific treatment for Zika-virus infection. Symptoms to be aware of include, a fever, rash, joint pain or conjunctivitis.
Zika is spread by the same Aedes mosquito that can carry dengue and chikungunya.
In some Brazilian states where Zika virus has been circulating, there has been a marked increase in cases of newborns with microcephaly.
"What we're looking at now [in Brazil] is the avalanche".
She said that the National Epidemiological Vigilance System (SNE) is working at full capacity given that the Dominican Republic has close contact and receives travellers from some of the countries where cases have already been reported. "Before the explosion of cases since mid-2015, Brazil had an average 150 cases of microcephaly a year".
There is no known cure for the Zika virus. Health experts believe that babies with undersized brains may have serious health issues like learning disabilities and developmental problems. "We're isolating the virus...so there shouldn't be any alarm right now", Shah said. Nevertheless, the CDC recommends pregnant women avoid being bitten by mosquitoes, as did Harris County, though the county purposely omitted the disease's possible connection to microcephaly in a press release. "The other is the subtropical climate, and the third - the one that people don't typically appreciate - is poverty".
"When you go into the poor areas of Houston, you see absent screens, absent air conditions, and tires along the side of the road filled with water", an ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes, Hotez said. County officials are taking action in light of what is reported to have happened due to this virus in Brazil. As many as 22 cases of the disease have been confirmed among returning US travelers since it was first reported in 2007, according to Reuters.