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Thursday, January 28, 2016
Three cases of the Zika virus are confirmed in New York City as number of diagnoses across the U.S. reaches 31
By Wills Robinson For Dailymail.com
21:18 28 Jan 2016, updated 21:25 28 Jan 2016
Three cases of the Zika virus have been confirmed in New York City as the number of diagnoses across the United States reaches 31.
The rise in cases have prompted health officials to take preventative steps to stop a further spread while
All of them are believed to have caught the infection, which is transferred by the Aedes mosquito, while traveling in the Caribbean or Latin America where there are outbreaks of the tropical illness.
The latest update came on the day the scientists warned it has an 'explosive pandemic potential', and could impact up to four million people.
It is worryingly thought to cause a brain defect where brains do not develop properly - prompting some countries to warn their residents not to get pregnant.
There are now fears the 2016 Rio Olympics could be affected because of a spike in cases, with some athletes being warned not to go.
Zika cannot be transmitted by casual person-to-person contact. While there is concern that Zika virus may be sexually transmitted, officials at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have said the evidence of sexual transmission is insufficient.
Officials said Thursday the 31 people are in 11 states and Washington. In U.S. territories, Puerto Rico has 19 confirmed cases and the U.S. Virgin Islands has one.
There are seven across New York state, however three are centered in the city.
New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker told ABC 7: 'Because Zika virus is primarily transmitted by infected mosquitos, there is very limited chance of local transmission in New York during the winter.
'Even so, the Department of Health is taking steps now to protect the health of all New Yorkers and to prepare for the warmer months when mosquitos will be active in New York.
The government is looking at the issue of blood donations from travelers, although officials think the virus is gone from an infected person's blood in a week or less.
The World Health Organisation said the mosquito-borne disease had gone from a mild threat to one of alarming proportions and admitted up to four million people could be infected.
The agency will convene an emergency committee of disease experts on Monday.
It comes after US experts claimed WHO was not taking a leadership role in the Zika pandemic.
They said the organisation needed to learn lessons from its handling of the Ebola epidemic where the 'agency's failure to act decisively cost thousands of lives'.