By Ava-joye Burnett

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A debilitating virus transferred by mosquitoes is spreading like wildfire. Even though the Zika virus started in South America, it’s now forcing some women in the US to cancel their vacations.

Ava-joye Burnett has more on this virus and the devastating effects it could have on unborn children.

The US has already seen a few cases of the Zika virus. Monday, the World Health Organization declared it an international emergency.

Brazil’s paradise is ground zero for the Zika virus. Now the country has seen a surge in the number of babies born with microcephaly, where the babies have small heads and brain damage.

Zika has now been detected in at least 24 countries, mostly in the Caribbean and Central and South America, forcing the World Health Organization to label this an international emergency.

“The causes of microcephaly and other neurological complications constitute an extraordinary event and a public health threat to other parts of the world,” said Dr. Margaret Chan, Director General of the World Health Organization.

On Monday, the CDC added four more countries and territories to its advisory list, warning international travelers of the effects of the Zika virus.

“We really don’t want to take the risk there,” said Min Kim.

Kim is expecting her first child and canceled a cruise to Mexico.

“When we realized it was getting worse and worse, we decided to actually sit down and talk about it and say, `Hey, do you think we need to cancel this?’ and we both decided it really wasn’t worth taking the risk,” Kim said.

And for sisters just back from a Costa Rica vacation, a trip to the doctor is now on their to do list.

“We are definitely going to schedule some appointments with our doctor just to do any kind of testing and make sure we are in the clear,” said Kiera Edwards. “You can never be too careful with these kinds of things.”

For folks wanting to travel outside the country, right now, there are no travel bans but the CDC is warning you to take all steps possible to avoid mosquito bites.

The World Health Organization says there could be up to four million cases of Zika in the Americas in the next year.


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