The move comes as Zika virus, which is linked to a birth defect where babies are born with smaller heads which limits brain growth, has spread to countries in the region.

One case of the Zika virus has been identified in Arkansas and another in Virginia, Center for Disease Control (CDC) said, adding that one case was also confirmed in a girl in California, but she has since recovered.

As of now there is no vaccine to prevent Zika. The best way to prevent diseases spread by mosquitoes is to avoid being bitten, it said.

In his meeting with senior health official and National Security team, Obama emphasised the need to accelerate research efforts to make available better diagnostic tests, to develop vaccines and therapeutics, and to ensure that all Americans have information about the Zika virus and steps they can take to better protect themselves from infection, the White House said.

CDC said Zika is a disease caused by Zika virus that is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes).

Latest News from World News Desk