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Zika Virus: WHO declares global emergency

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Published on 4 Feb 2016 1:20 PM GMT

Zika Virus: WHO declares global emergency
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Latin America: "A global public health emergency posed by a disease linked to 'Zika virus' in Latin America requires a united response", said the World Health Organisation (WHO) Director General, Margaret Chan.

Dr. Chan declared an international public health emergency considering the severe health complications caused by the virus.

Dr. Chan justified declaring an emergency even amid uncertainties about the diseases caused by the virus, saying it was time to take action.

Highlights:-

  • Experts are worried about the fact that Zika virus is spreading far and fast.
  • The infection gives rise to cases like 'microcephaly' in which babies are born with underdeveloped brain.
  • The WHO alert puts Zika in the same category of concern as Ebola.
  • There have been around 4,000 cases of microcephaly in Brazil since October.
  • Any vaccine or medication is yet not made to stop Zika.
  • The only way to stay away from the virus is to avoid getting bitten by the Aedes mosquitoes that transmit the infection.
  • The bigger health threat by the virus is believed to be in pregnancy to the unborn child.
  • Most infections are mild but there have also been some reported cases of a rare paralysis disorder called Guillain-Barre syndrome.
  • The WHO has warned that Zika is likely to spread rapidly across America.
  • More than 20 countries in Latin America, including Brazil, are reporting cases linked to the virus.

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