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  • City workers fumigate a park as part of a preventative measure against the mosquito-borne Zika virus in Santa Tecla, El Salvador Jan. 29, 2016.

    City workers fumigate a park as part of a preventative measure against the mosquito-borne Zika virus in Santa Tecla, El Salvador Jan. 29, 2016. | Photo: Reuters

Published 2 February 2016

Health ministers across the region will meet to share knowledge and research about the virus, for which no previous information exists.

Health ministers of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) will hold a meeting in Montevideo, Uruguay, on Tuesday to discuss the situation of the rapidly spreading zika virus and further cases of dengue in the region.

The meeting was requested by Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, where the virus has hit the region the hardest, with more than 1 million cases already detected.

The Colombian head of state, Juan Manuel Santos said during the Fourth Summit of the CELAC, held last week in Quito, Ecuador, that he and his peers agreed to bring together health ministers meet to share experiences and confront the issue.

Zika is “a new problem in which there is no previous information or experiences, so the more we work together, the more effective we will be in containing this epidemic,” he said.

In Colombia, the Zika virus has affected more than 2,000 people and has been linked to the existence of microcephaly in newborns in recent months, causing the government to urge women not to become pregnant in order to prevent new cases of this condition.

Colombia is not the only country to respond in this way. El Salvador has also advised women not to get pregnant for the next two years, what has angered women's rights activists since the country is renown for having strict anti-abortion laws and insufficient contraception and sex education.

The World Health Organization (WHO), has no evidence of the relationship between malformations and Zika, but promised to study the consequences of the virus, pointing to the 4 million affected for the month of February.

The organization said that in regard to Brazil, 4,180 cases have now been detected.

The global health agency held an emergency meeting to assess the actions to be undertaken at the global level. The disease is 75 percent asymptomatic and has no cure so far, causing the WHO to declare the virus to be a “global public health emergency.”

According to the WHO, the effects of El Niño, have a negative impact on the increase in cases of Zika.

WATCH: teleSUR's Dossier - Zika Virus Threatens Latin America

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