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WHO Issues Travel Advisory As Md. Sees First Case Of Zika

BALTIMORE (WJZ)—The World Health Organization has issued a warning to pregnant women about traveling to countries where the Zika virus is prevalent.

The warning comes one day after Maryland health officials announce its first case of the mosquito-borne illness.

Meghan McCorkell has more.

Declared an international public health emergency, Maryland has its first confirmed case of the Zika virus, with more expected.

Dr. Howard Haft, with the Maryland Health Department says it's simply inevitable.

The unidentified Maryland patient recently traveled to Central America where the virus is prevalent, along with parts of South America.

"We're working around the clock to find out as much as we can, as quickly as we can," said Dr. Tom Frieden. Centers for Disease Control.

Most people have minor to no symptoms, but for pregnant women the Zika virus has been linked to devastating birth defects, including head and brain abnormalities.

El Salvador has advised women not to get pregnant until 2018.

Officials say two American women who contracted Zika overseas suffered miscarriages.

The WHO issued a travel warning for pregnant women Friday.

Doctor Kathy Neuzil of the University of Maryland School of Medicine says it's something to listen to.

"I think if you're a pregnant woman you really have to think very seriously about if the travel is necessary," she said.

The CDC has confirmed more than 50 cases of Zika virus here in the U.S., all of them are traveled related cases.

"It's not being transmitted in Maryland it's actually not being transmitted from person to person in any U.S. state," said Neuzil.

Zika cases have also been confirmed in D.C., Delaware and Virginia and at this point there's no vaccine and no cure.

The WHO warns as many as four million people could contract the Zika virus by the end of the year.

Health officials say if a pregnant woman has traveled to an affected area they should contact their doctor.

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