The Zika virus could spread in every European country where the Aedes mosquito is present, the WHO has warned.
The World Health Organization’s Europe chief said the risk of the virus spreading into Europe would increase in spring and summer.
It could spread beyond the Americas by mosquitos stowed away in planes or baggage, or in the blood of travellers.
The Aedes mosquito is found throughout the tropics and as far north as southern Europe. They inject the virus while feeding on a person’s blood.
Brazil has so far been worst affected after detecting its first case in May, with nearly 4,000 cases reported.
The virus has quickly spread to more than 30 countries.
Two people in Ireland who had travelled to a country affected by Zika have now recovered.
The virus – which is strongly linked to birth defects such as abnormally small heads and incomplete brain development – has been declared an international health emergency.
Women are being warned to avoid Zika-hit countries if they are pregnant or are thinking about becoming pregnant.
Zika has also been found in semen and a county in Texas has reported a sexually transmitted case of the virus.
With the exception of the risks for unborn babies, Zika is not considered dangerous.
About one in five people infected get relatively mild symptoms including a fever, muscle pain, red-eyes and a skin rash three to 12 days after being bitten.Tags: could spread, European country, in every, mosquito is present, The Zika virus, where the Aedes