Zika virus cases reported in Central, South America
The virus is spread through the bites of mosquitoes. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it presents itself with joint pain, headache, vomiting and fever. Approximately a quarter of infections actually break out into illness, based on data from the SSI and the CDC.
Authorities in Brazil have reported increased cases of microcephaly -- the development of smaller heads -- in infants in areas where cases of the zika virus have also been reported. This coincides with reports of cases of microcephaly in French Polynesia during an outbreak of the zika virus between Sept. 2013 and March 2014.
Travelers intending to visit affected areas are encouraged to take precautionary measures against mosquitoes, particularly women who are pregnant. According to the CDC, there are no reported cases of the zika virus, but they do warn that travelers returning from, or visiting, affected areas could carry the disease and as a result spread it on a local basis.
For European countries, the SSI reports that the risk of the disease spreading is low due to current weather and climate conditions.