Woman Infected with Zika Virus in Chicago
Woman Infected with Zika Virus in Chicago

The Zika virus, associated with brain-related birth defects, has finally reached the windy city this week, the Chicago Tribune reports. 

She is the fifth person in Illinois to have the virus. 

The woman was not infected in the United States. She carried the virus into the country after returning from Colombia, where the epidemic is raging and more than 3,000 pregnant women have been caught with the virus. 

The virus first entered the country in Los Angeles in January, via a woman who returned from a trip to El Salvador, where the government has recommended that women not get pregnant until 2018 because of the virus. 

States with confirmed cases of the Zika virus (Center for Disease Control and Prevention)
States with confirmed cases of the Zika virus (Center for Disease Control and Prevention)

Dozens of states, from California to New York, have documented Zika infections from travels returning from Latin American countries, but so far, there hasn’t been a single case of the internal transmission of the virus within the US, according to the CDC

Because of better access to air conditioning and indoor screens, the Zika virus, which is transmitted by mosquito bites, is less likely to spread within the US, although the CDC hasn’t ruled it out completely. 

“I don’t want to give misconception here, we’re expecting there to be some local transmission, but based on the experience with the other mosquito borne viruses and those areas in the southern United States, we are not expecting really big difficult to control ones,” CDC Dr. Anne Schuchat said earlier this year. 

Areas where people are being infected with the Zika virus (Center for Disease Control and Prevention)
Areas where people are being infected with the Zika virus (Center for Disease Control and Prevention)

The UN has declared a public health emergency over the Zika virus, and returning travelers have brought the disease to countries across the world, from China to France, but at the moment, active transmission from mosquito bites remains limited to Latin America and some parts of Africa and Southeast Asia. 

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