WHO declares a Public Health Emergency over Zika Virus

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WHO Director-General, Margaret Chan, will convene an International Health Regulations Emergency Committee on Monday, February 1st in Geneva on Zika virus and whether the outbreak constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

Mosquito Bites
Image Source – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The Zika virus primarily spread by infected Aedes species mosquito bites and are normally aggressive daytime biters. The virus seems to have mild symptoms in adults which range from fever, rash, joint pain, or conjunctivitis (red eyes). Other common symptoms include muscle pain and headache. The incubation period (the time from exposure to symptoms) for Zika virus disease is not known, but is likely to be a few days to a week. The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week.

The real threat of the virus is posed to pregnant women as doctors are citing that pregnant women infected with zika virus may be a cause of concern, affecting the brain development of the foetus leading to microcephaly in their newborn babies.

Active Virus
Image Source – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Margaret Chan commented that the link between the Zika virus and microcephaly was “strongly suspected but not yet scientifically proven.”

She also added, “After a review of the evidence, the committee advised that the clusters of microcephaly and other neurological complications constitute an extraordinary event and public health threat to other parts of the world,”.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have laid out simple guidelines to help prevent the spread of this virus.

Try to avoid the countries where this virus is spreading rapidly and keep away from mosquitos!

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