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  • The virus is carried by the same mosquito that carries dengue.

    The virus is carried by the same mosquito that carries dengue. | Photo: AFP

The United Nations health body said there could be 3 to 4 million cases of Zika in the Americas over the next year.

The World Health Organization on Thursday urged for an emergency meeting to try to find ways to stop the transmission of the Zika virus, which officials said was "spreading explosively" across the Americas.

According to the the United Nations health body, there could be 3 to 4 million cases of Zika in the Americas over the next year.

"The level of alarm is extremely high, as is the level of uncertainty. Questions abound. We need to get some answers quickly," Margaret Chan, the director-general of the WHO, said in a briefing to member countries in Geneva.

The announcement comes a day after Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said there will be an emergency meeting of the health ministers of the Southern Common Market or Mercosur, next Tuesday in the Uruguayan capital of Uruguay.

Brazil is currently the epicenter of the mosquito borne Zika virus. The country’s government has already deployed more than 200,000 soldiers to battle the outbreak, which may cause the birth defect microcephaly — a fetal deformity in newborn babies where they have smaller than normal brains — due to a concurrent rise, though no scientific link has yet been found. Brazil currently has more than 4,000 suspected cases of microcephaly.

Meanwhile, the first case of Zika was also reported in Argentina Thursday morning. The virus causes a mild fever and conjunctivitis and headache, but 60 to 80 percent of those who get it show no symptoms.

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