Zika virus a trending topic on social media platforms

The larvae of Aedes aegypti mosquito are seen inside Oxitec laboratory in Campinas, Brazil, February 2, 2016. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Zika virus was a trending topic on several social media platforms on Wednesday, with users expressing concern over travel plans.

Zika was trending on Facebook in the early afternoon, with 100,000 users discussing it. According to social analytics firm Zoomph, there were 50 tweets per minute on Zika, with top related hashtags that included #salud, the Spanish word for health, and #who, referring to the World Health Organization.

The mosquito-borne virus, which has been linked to a rise in severe birth defects in Brazil, is rapidly spreading in the Americas, and WHO has declared an international health emergency over Zika.

According to Google, the Texas cities of Garland, Dallas and Grapevine topped the list for Zika searches in the past 48 hours. The first known case of Zika transmission in the United States during the current outbreak was reported in Texas on Tuesday.

The countries generating the most searches for Zika in the last day were Venezuela, Mexico and the Dominican Republic, according to Google. It was also a trending topic on Yik Yak, a location-based mobile app popular with millennials.

On Twitter, users complained that the virus could crimp travel plans, particularly for spring break.

The study abroad office of Wayne State University (@StudyAbroad_WSU), tweeted that students should stay on top of travel notices from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Ariana Gomez (@arianachantelg) tweeted, “Zika is ruining my Spring break plans to go to Puerto Rico and I AM NOT HAVING IT.” And Becca B. (@beccabyrd_isfly) said, “This whole Zika virus ruining my spring break possible travel itineraries.”

The report from Texas that the case there was contracted through sex was not missed on Twitter. Proctor Pyrex (@GoldLabel__) tweeted that people would start checking passports before having intercourse.

Additional reporting by Gina Cherelus in New York