An Illustrated Guide To The Zika Outbreak

In October 2015, Brazilian health authorities notified the World Health Organization that an alarming number of Brazilian babies had been born with microcephaly, a rare, debilitating birth defect with lifelong consequences.

Researchers quickly linked the spike in birth defects to the outbreak of a little-known tropical disease called Zika virus, which is transmitted by mosquito.

Since its discovery in Uganda in 1947, Zika virus has popped up in different African and Asian countries, but no widespread outbreaks had occurred until 2013, when the virus infected an estimated 11 percent of the population of French Polynesia and spread to neighboring Pacific islands.

Then, in 2014, Brazil hosted a series of international sporting events — the FIFA World Cup and the Va’a World Elite & Club Sprint Championships canoe race. Researchers suspect that this is when people from the Pacific islands who were infected with Zika virus first introduced it to South America.

Since then, the virus has spread across South and Central America, as well as the Caribbean — reaching as far as the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico.

So far, two people have tested positive for the virus in Spain, and approximately a dozen people in the U.S. have tested positive for it since 2015. The virus has also been linked to a microcephalic baby born in Hawaii.

However, it’s important to note that the U.S. and European cases of the virus were acquired by travelers who had recently visited areas already affected by Zika. The virus has not necessarily reached the places where these people were diagnosed.

Here’s what you need to know about the virus and where it has traveled.

Zika Virus Is In Central And South America

As of Jan. 22, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have graded 22 countries —> Read More