Amid concerns over the rapid spread of the Zika virus, Jamaica confirmed Saturday the virus had spread to its shores, and Colombia reported more than 2,000 pregnant women have been infected. The Jamaican Ministry of Health said in a statement a child with the confirmed case of the virus started showing symptoms earlier this month when she returned home from a trip to Texas. Jamaican officials are investigating the source of the virus.
No other members of the family of the child have tested positive, and the Ministry of Health is looking into whether there are other cases of the disease near where the child lives. The mosquito-borne Zika virus has been linked to an increase in the number of cases of microcephaly, a rare brain defect in babies that causes them to have abnormally small heads, leading to improper brain function, the Associated Press reported.
The National Health Institute of Colombia said the country has seen 20,297 cases of the virus, including 2,116 pregnant women, Agence France-Presse reported. This puts Colombia’s outbreak second in size behind Brazil. The World Health Organization said it expects about 3 million to 4 million cases of the Zika virus in 2016.
About 1.5 million Zika infections have been reported in Brazil, and 63.6 percent of those cases were women. About 24 countries in the Americas have reported the Zika virus was within their borders, USA Today reported.
Pregnant women have been advised not to travel to certain areas to reduce the risk of contracting the virus, including Ecuador, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Saint Martin and Mexico, among others. While no outbreaks have occurred in the U.S., 31 Americans have tested positive for the Zika infection, which they contracted while traveling abroad, USA Today reported.