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Montevideo, September 24th 2018 - 22:07 UTC

Zika virus declared an international public health emergency

Tuesday, February 2nd 2016 - 06:05 UTC
Full article 9 comments
Director-General Margaret Chan said on Monday coordinated international action was needed to improve detection and speed work on a vaccine Director-General Margaret Chan said on Monday coordinated international action was needed to improve detection and speed work on a vaccine
WHO said the Zika virus, carried by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, was “spreading explosively” and could infect as many as 4 million people in the Americas. WHO said the Zika virus, carried by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, was “spreading explosively” and could infect as many as 4 million people in the Americas.

The World Health Organization has declared the mosquito-borne Zika virus to be an international public health emergency due to its link to thousands of suspected cases of birth defects in Brazil.

 WHO Director-General Margaret Chan told reporters on Monday coordinated international action was needed to improve detection and speed work on a vaccine and better diagnostics for the disease, although curbs on travel or trade were not necessary.

The emergency designation was recommended by a committee of independent experts to the UN agency following criticism of a hesitant response so far. The move should help fast-track international action and research priorities.

“Members of the committee agreed that the situation meets the conditions for a public health emergency of international concern. I have accepted this advice,” Chan told a news briefing at WHO headquarters.

The WHO said last week the Zika virus, carried by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, was “spreading explosively” and could infect as many as 4 million people in the Americas. Brazil is due to host the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in August.

The WHO was lambasted for reacting too slowly to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa which killed more than 10,000 people in the past two years, and has promised to do better in future global health crises.

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention head Thomas Frieden said the declaration “calls the world to action” on Zika, while Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust medical charity, said the WHO “should be congratulated for being far more proactive this time”.

Derek Gatherer, a lecturer at Lancaster University, said the WHO's move was “like a declaration of war ... on Zika virus”.

Brazil has reported some 3,700 suspected cases of microcephaly, in which infants are born with smaller-than-usual brains. The Health Ministry has linked the condition to Zika, although the connection is not yet definitive.

Chan said the causal link was “strongly suspected but not yet scientifically proven”.

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  • Brasileiro

    Last year (2015) tourism yields to Brazil US$ 5 billion. 3/4 of this money was spent by tourists from neighboring countries here in South America.

    Tourism in Brazil is a very strong industry. Embratur estimated that tourists spent in Brazil in 2015 US$ 60 billion. Brazilian tourists account for over 90% of total spending.

    Therefore, has no importance if countries of “five eyes” coming or not for Carnival or for the Olympics.

    Feb 02nd, 2016 - 11:00 am 0
  • yankeeboy

    I'd be a bit more worried in the amount of retarded children being born. Although how does one tell if a Brazilian is retarded?

    Seems like they let you out now and again.

    Feb 02nd, 2016 - 01:49 pm 0
  • Jack Bauer

    @1 Br asshole
    May I suggest you read your post again...and again : in your 1st paragraph you state ”(2015) tourism yields to Brazil US$ 5 billion“ ; in your 2nd, ”Embratur estimated that tourists spent in Brazil in 2015 US$ 60 billion ”.

    Is it 5 or 60 ??

    But let's stick to the facts : foreign tourists left USD 5,8 billion in Brazil, in 2015. In the same period, Brazilians spent USD 17,3 billion abroad, resulting in a deficit of USD 11,5 billion, or 39% less than the 2014 deficit of USD 18,7 billion. While this may help the balance of payments, it means, contrary to what you believe , Brazilians are poorer and are travelling abroad less and less, because they cannot afford to. The number of Brazilians who travelled abroad in 2015 dropped by roughly 40% when compared to 2014.
    Anyway, the above shows that your allegation that revenue from tourism in Brazil, in 2015 was USD 60 billion, of which USD 54 billion was from local tourists, is pure, unadulterated bullshit.

    While it is logical to presume that local tourists would opt for cheaper travel, domestically - in view of the USD - your numbers are no more than the fantasy of a weak mind.

    Tell me, does your head measure more than 33 cms ?

    Feb 02nd, 2016 - 04:10 pm 0
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