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Mapped: The Threat of the Zika Virus

Mapped: The Threat of the Zika Virus

The mosquito-borne Zika virus spreading across Latin America is so dangerous to unborn babies that governments are urging pregnant women not to visit countries where the disease has spread, and couples who live in some of those countries have been instructed to avoid getting pregnant.

And the news only gets worse. The virus “is now spreading explosively,” Dr. Margaret Chan, the head of the World Health Organization warned on Thursday. Chan is calling for an emergency committee meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, on Feb. 1 to discuss what to do about the virus.

The disease is moving between countries so quickly that this week the WHO announced it is expected to spread everywhere in the Americas except for Chile and Canada. Climate and geography in those two countries prevent the Aedes mosquito, which spreads the virus, from breeding. The virus has yet to be contracted locally by anyone in the United States, although health officials have reported 20 cases of people who have been infected elsewhere and then returned home.

But where is the Zika virus now? Below, FP has mapped known cases based on numbers reported in international news outlets this month. The epidemic is ongoing, and many countries are still scrambling to run proper tests. That means that in certain countries, the number of confirmed cases has not caught up with the number of suspected cases. Colombia, for example, has only confirmed 798 infections with blood tests of over 16,000 suspected cases. Brazil is the only country hit harder: it has more than one million reported cases.

Updated information was not immediately available for several countries, which appear below in gray. In the case of Venezuela, the government has not released any data about the number of cases, though it has confirmed that the virus is in the country.