Zika Virus Is Spreading Rapidly – World Health Organization

0

Get real time updates directly on you device, subscribe now.

The World Health Organisation has convened an emergency committee to discuss the “explosive” spread of the Zika virus, which has been linked to thousands of birth defects in Latin America.

“Last year the disease was detected in the Americas, where it is spreading explosively,” Margaret Chan, the WHO director general, said. “It was “deeply concerning” that the virus had now been detected in 23 countries in the Americas,” she added.

The spread of the virus has prompted governments across the world to advise pregnant women against going to the areas where it has been detected. There is no vaccine or cure for Zika, which has been linked to microcephaly, a serious condition that can cause lifelong developmental problems.

Chan outlined four reasons for alarm: “First, the possible association of infection with birth malformations and neurological syndromes. Second, the potential for further international spread given the wide geographical distribution of the mosquito vector. Third, the lack of population immunity in newly affected areas. Fourth, the absence of vaccines.”

Speaking to the BBC’s World Service, Gostin, a member of a commission that criticised the WHO for its response to Ebola, said: “With the Rio Olympics on our doorstep I can certainly see this having a pandemic potential.”

There has been one reported case of the Zika virus through “possible sexual transmission”, while a second case was found in a man’s semen. However, Schuchat highlighted that scientific research clearly showed Zika was “primarily transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito”.

Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.