DALLAS - A second case of the Zika virus has been confirmed in Houston.
A woman contracted the mosquito-borne illness after she recently traveled to Colombia. Another woman near Houston earlier tested positive after returning from El Salvador.
The virus is not believed to be spread from person to person, but there’s growing concern it could spread in the United States.
“The level of concern is high, as is the level of uncertainty. Questions abound, we need to get some answers quickly,” said Dr. Margaret Chan, with the World Health Organization.
“There are certainly reasons to be concerned about this disease. And I think that’s what… that explains the federal response that’s been mobilized here by the United States,” added Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary.
While health officials say most people exposed to the virus suffer only mild symptoms, the risk is far greater for pregnant women. Brazilian officials have linked it to babies born with small or deformed heads.
So far Zika has been detected mostly in Latin America and the Caribbean, but the WHO predicts up to 4 million people in the Americas could be diagnosed by the end of this year.
Most U.S. airlines and cruise operators are now offering refunds or letting pregnant women change their itineraries if they booked a trip to places dealing with an outbreak.
There is currently no vaccine.