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Zika virus spreading ‘explosively’, says World Health Organisation

Director general convenes emergency committee, saying ‘level of alarm is extremely high’ as virus has now been detected in more than 20 countries

 In the United States the rapidness of  “travel” spread of a bite virus that emerged from South Americas, has shocked specialists and the authorities .

Florida, Texas and southern California have mosquitoes that can spread Zika year-round, according to the medical journal Lancet. The Midwest and East Coast, including New York City, are at risk in the spring and summer, says the report. These areas are now considered “conducive to seasonal Zika virus transmission.” …

The direcor general of the WHO Chan said: “The level of alarm is extremely high. Arrival of the virus in some cases has been associated with a steep increase in the birth of babies with abnormally small heads.”

Chan outlined four reasons for alarm:

“First, the possible association of infection with birth malformations and neurological syndromes.

Second, the potential for further international spread given the wide geographical distribution of the mosquito vector.

Third, the lack of population immunity in newly affected areas.

Fourth, the absence of vaccines.”

This year’s el Niño weather patterns mean mosquito populations are expected to spread, Chan added. “

Lawrence Gostin, a public health law expert from Georgetown University, warned that Zika has an “explosive pandemic potential”.

“With the Rio Olympics on our doorstep I can certainly see this having a pandemic potential.”

He said every review of the WHO’s response to Ebola found that it was “too little, too late”.

Interviewed minutes before Chan’s announcement, he said: “I’m disappointed that the WHO has not been acting proactively. They have not issued any advice about travel, about surveillance, about mosquito control.”

“The very first thing I would propose is a global mosquito eradication effort, particularly in areas with ongoing Zika transmission. We really need to declare war on this species of mosquito.”

Zika is related to yellow fever and dengue. An estimated 80% of people that have it have no symptoms, making it difficult for pregnant women to know whether they have been infected.

 

 

There are two primary ways Zika virus—and all other mosquito-borne diseases—travels:

  • A mosquito carrying the virus catches a ride on a plane, or a ship;

  • A person incubating the virus travels to another area of the world and is bitten by a mosquito, which starts spreading the virus.

And that’s the creepy thing about ZIKA. Straightly from the carrier any “local” mosquito can transfer the infection to you

Travel Guidelines

Currently, the US Center for Disease Control has issued a Level 2 travel warning, asking to take “enhanced precautions” when travelling to 17 countries, and has confirmed at least a dozen Zika cases in the US.

Potentially, all areas of the world where Aedes mosquito is endemic are at risk.
Potentially, all areas of the world where Aedes mosquito is endemic are at risk. Zika virus can be spread by all Aedes mosquitos, though so far the Aedes Aegypti, has been the most effective carrier. The areas where the virus is likely to spread next are the US southeastern states of Florida, the Gulf Coast region, and possibly Texas, where Aedes Aegypti are endemic.

 Can the Zika virus be transmitted directly from person to person?

So far, research suggests that the virus can not be transmitted through contact from person to person (except for its capacity to infect fetuses through the placenta).

However, it should not be excluded.

In 2009, one case of probable sexual transmission from a man to a woman was recorded.

 

sources:  Zika virus spreading  ‘explosively’, says World Health Organisation | World news | The Guardian.

Zika: What is it and should you be worried about it?, quarz

 

 

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