Zika virus spreading ‘explosively’, says World Health Org

Categories: News
Published on: January 28, 2016

The Guardian / Matthew Weaver / 28 January 2016

zika virusThe 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 at a special briefing in Geneva. It was “deeply concerning” that the virus has now been detected in 23 countries in the Americas, she added.

Three to four million cases of Zika can be expected, said Marcos Espinal, an infectious disease expert at the WHO’s Americas regional office, though he gave no time frame for these figures.

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.