Major epidemics of #Zika may occur in cities globally as environments where mosquitoes can live & breed are increasing due to urbanization
— WHO (@WHO) January 27, 2016
Symptoms of the virus, which was closely related to dengue, were normally mild, with a low-grade fever, joint pain, conjunctivitis, headache and a red, bumpy rash, but serious and life-threatening cases were increasingly emerging.
Alongside the spike in microcephaly, a number of adults in Brazil had been hospitalised with Guillain Barré syndrome, causing paralysis, and leaving some victims on life support.
There were fears the disease could also be spread through sexual contact, but only one case had been confirmed.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has updated its travel advice, recommending pregnant women, or those who plan to conceive in the near term, consider putting off their travel to infected areas, or if that was not possible, consult their doctor and take all precautions to avoid moquito bites.