MEXICO CITY – The World Health Organization says the Zika virus that’s suspected of causing birth defects is likely to spread to every country in the Americas where the mosquito that carries it can be found: that’s everywhere except for Canada and continental Chile.
Sunday’s statement says the virus is new to the region, so few people have immunity to it. The virus emerged in Africa in the 1940s, spread to Asia and was confirmed in the Americas only last May, though it likely appeared months earlier. Brazilian officials say it’s associated with a recent wave of birth defects.
Some U.S. travelers have been infected abroad with Zika and other viruses spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, but there have been no cases of local infection with Zika in the U.S. so far.