GENEVA (Sputnik) — The current Zika outbreak started in Brazil in the spring of 2015. It has since spread across Latin America, with cases reported in several European countries and the United States.
"Between 1 January 2007 and 3 March 2016, a total of 52 countries and territories have reported autochthonous (local) transmission or indication of transmission of Zika virus (41 since 1 January 2015)," the statement reads.
It was added in the statement that the geography of the virus had widened significantly since it was detected in the Americas and it had already been detected in 31 countries and territories of the region.
The Zika virus affects primarily monkeys and humans and is transmitted by daytime-active mosquitoes. Transmission through blood transfusions and sexual intercourse has also been reported. Pregnant women who contact the virus often give birth to babies with severe birth defects, characterized by microcephaly.