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Zika virus likely to spread to southern United States

Staff writer |
Experts say it's only a matter of time before Zika virus, which has been linked to an alarming increase in birth defects in Brazil, is transmitted within the United States.

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"It's not if, it's when," said Mustapha Debboun, director of the mosquito control division at Harris County Public Health and Environmental Services in Houston.

Travelers to Zika-affected countries will bring the virus back to the United States, he said, "and sooner or later, the mosquitoes will pick up the virus."

Last Friday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention took the unusual step of warning pregnant women and women who want to become pregnant to avoid travel in 14 countries and territories where Zika transmission is ongoing.

The list, to date, includes Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Suriname, Venezuela and Puerto Rico.


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