World Health Organisation declares Zika virus an international emergency.

The World Health Organisation has declared the Zika Virus an international emergency, after spreading rapidly in South America. The Zika virus was first discovered in the 1950s in Uganda, and is transmitted by daytime-active Aedes mosquitoes. The Zika virus has caused mass havoc in Brazil, having spreading through much of Southern America.

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Today the WHO announced a statement regarding the current threat assessment of the virus, the statement is as follows:

I am now declaring that the recent cluster of microcephaly cases and other neurological disorders reported in Brazil, following a similar cluster in French Polynesia in 2014, constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

-WHO

Some of the common symptoms for the virus include fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). These symptoms last from several days to weeks and only require hospitalisation if severe. In May 2015, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) issued their first confirmed case of the Zika virus in Brazil. This outbreak led to reports of pregnant women giving birth to babies with birth defects and in some cases death.

There is currently no vaccine or medication to prevent or treat the Zika virus. During the first week the virus can be passed from human to mosquito by mosquito bite and then the infected mosquito can go on to transmit the virus to a new human host. The CDC has specifically pointed out that people who believe they have been infected should not consume any aspirin, ibuprofen or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. First dengue must be ruled out, otherwise these drugs could be at risk of hemorrhages (bleeding).

A coordinated international response is needed to improve surveillance, the detection of infections, congenital malformations, and neurological complications, to intensify the control of mosquito populations, and to expedite the development of diagnostic tests and vaccines to protect people at risk, especially during pregnancy.

-WHO

The Zika virus has caused many babies to be born with Microcephaly, which causes a babies head to smaller. the serious condition leads to the baby not developing his/her brain properly and other linked conditions include:

  • Seizures
  • Developmental delay, such as problems with speech or other developmental milestones (like sitting, standing, and walking)
  • Intellectual disability (decreased ability to learn and function in daily life)
  • Problems with movement and balance
  • Feeding problems, such as difficulty swallowing
  • Hearing loss
  • Vision problems.

There has been warnings from officials in El salvador, that women should deter from becoming pregnant until at least 2018 to protect their potential children from being hurt.

For more information regarding the Zika virus please head over to the WHO or CDC websites, where you can learn about the early symptoms, diagnoses and treatment.

Saad Bhatty

Blogger, journalist, geologist and Tech-enthusiast. There is always something to write about!

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2 Responses

  1. February 4, 2016

    […] Zika virus has been linked to birth defects such as microcephaly, which causes babies to be born with […]

  2. February 6, 2016

    […] announced that the Zika virus has been detected in urine and saliva. This comes days after the WHO released a statement declaring the Zika virus an international emergency. The Zika virus has been linked to […]

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