Monday 1 February 2016

BREAKING NEWS: #Zikavirus outbreak IS a 'global public health emergency', says World Health Organisation

The Zika virus outbreak should be considered a 'public health emergency of international concern', the World Health Organisation has warned.
The global health body made its decision after an emergency meeting in Geneva to discuss the 'explosive' nature of the virus.
WHO officials have predicted that as many as four million people could be infected with the virus this year.
The last time a global emergency was declared was for the Ebola outbreak, which killed more than 11,000 people.
The alert was recommended by a committee of independent experts to the United Nations agency, following criticism of a hesitant response so far.
The move should help fast-track international action and research priorities.
The committee advised that the association between the virus and microcephaly - a condition where the child has an underdeveloped brain - constitutes an 'extraordinary event'.

WHO director general Dr Margaret Chan said the causal relationship between infection during pregnancy and microcephaly in babies is 'strongly suspected' but not yet scientifically proven.
She called for a coordinated international response to investigate and understand the relationship between the virus and the condition.
Patterns of spread of the virus, the lack of vaccines and reliable diagnostic tests are also cause for concern, Dr Chan added.
'After a review of the evidence the committee advised that the clusters of microcephaly and other neurological complications constitute an extraordinary event and a public health threat to other parts of the world,' she said.

'In their view a coordinated international response is needed to minimise the threat in effected countries and reduce the risk of further international spread.
'Members of the committee agree that the situation meets the conditions for a public health emergency of international concern.'
The UN health agency warned last week that the mosquito-borne disease was 'spreading explosively' in the Americas.
Making the announcement, Dr Chan said she had accepted the advice.
'I am now declaring that the recent cluster of microcephaly and other neurological abnormalities reported in Latin America, following a similar cluster in French Polynesia in 2014, constitutes a public health emergency of international concern,' she said.

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