How to prevent the spread of the Zika virus: How to protect yourself and your family
The virus, which causes mild to severe birth defects, has now been linked to a surge in the number of cases in Brazil.
Brazil’s President Michel Temer has pledged to fight the spread, which has already seen an unprecedented increase in the country’s population.
The World Health Organisation has warned that the outbreak could pose a health threat to as many as two million people.
But experts warn that Brazil could be overwhelmed with the number and complexity of cases and that it may take years before there is a definitive link to the virus.
The Zika virus is spread via mosquito bites and has been detected in Brazil’s two biggest cities of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.
The Brazilian health ministry says it is working to contain the spread.
The WHO said on Monday that more than 80 per cent of Brazil’s population is under five years of age.
It warned that an increase in cases and a rise in the birth defects would be “particularly harmful” in a country of 6.2 million people where nearly half the population is in low-income groups.
“This outbreak is not an emergency and the Brazilian government should take urgent steps to protect vulnerable groups, including women and children, against further spread,” the WHO said.
The Brazilian government has warned of a shortage of condoms, and some doctors have urged pregnant women to skip the procedure.
But it is not yet clear if the Zika strain is linked to the increase in birth defects.
Some experts are concerned that the virus may have spread to other countries, such as India and Nigeria, in an effort to reduce the population and stop the spread from the mainland.
It is also unclear whether the strain of Zika is causing birth defects in people who are pregnant.
Brazil is one of the top sources of the mosquito-borne Zika virus in Latin America, but the country has yet to officially declare an outbreak.
The United States has recorded more than 1,300 confirmed cases and 968 probable cases.
The virus has been linked with a rise of up to 23,000 cases in the US state of Minnesota, where the first cases were reported in February.
This outbreak has the potential to be the biggest health crisis Brazil has seen in decades.