President calls for better tests and treatments for Zika virus

EMBED </>More Videos

The Zika outbreak is on everyone's mind at a meeting of the leaders of 22 Latin American and Caribbean nations being held in Quito, Ecuador. (WPVI)

The spreading Zika virus is getting attention from the White House and several major airlines.

President Obama met with his health and National Security teams to discuss what's being done to protect the public.

He called for faster research on creating new diagnostic tests and treatments for Zika virus, and to find out if it indeed can cause birth defects in babies and paralysis in adults.

There are 21 cases of the mosquito-borne virus in 10 states - all acquired in other countries.

The latest addition to the list was in Minnesota, where authorities today confirmed the virus in an Anoka County woman in her 60s.

Her symptoms began January 1, after a trip to Honduras.

Minnesota health authorities say they expected to see some cases, because the regions where Zika is present are popular winter-time destinations for Minnesota residents.

In addition to the 21 cases on the U.S. mainland, there are alos 19 cases in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory.

Pregnant women are advised not to visit areas affected by the Zika Virus.

American and United Airlines said today concerned travelers can cancel or postpone trips.

American's offer is just for pregnant women.

80% of people infected with Zika virus won't show any symptoms.

Most others will have mild symptoms, such as fever, joint soreness, rash or red eyes. In less than 1 percent of cases, severe outcomes including microcephaly (abnormally small heads) in infants, miscarriage and Guillain-Barre syndrome have been reported.

There are no vaccines or treatment for Zika virus.

The best prevention measure is to avoid mosquito bites in areas known to harbor the disease.

Get your questions about Zika virus answered here: Zika virus Q&A.

Related Topics:
healthhealthcheckzika viruspresident barack obama
(Copyright ©2017 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.)

Load Comments