WHO Declares Zika Virus Spread an International Emergency

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Mon, Feb 1 - 2:37 pm EST | 3 years ago by
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The recent spread of the Zika virus has been declared an international public health emergency by the World Health Organization. WHO estimates there could be up to 4 million cases of Zika in tha Americas in the next year.

Zika virus in Brazil
Zika virus: Brazilian army canvass neighborhoods – Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images

The Zika outbreak in Brazil began last May, and has been heavily researched in recent months. Reportedly the country has an estimated 1.5 million infections.

“After a review of the evidence, the committee advised that the clusters of microcephaly [abnormally small heads/brain damage in infants] and other neurological complications constitute an extraordinary event and public health threat to other parts of the world,” WHO Director-General Margaret Chan said.

The mosquito-borne virus causes fever-like symptoms for adults, and can be dangerous for pregnant women and lead to birth defects in babies.

The CDC said last week that a major Zika virus outbreak in the United States is unlikely. However, they may warn women about traveling to countries such as Brazil.

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