Tourism

Zika no longer Intl public health emergency: WHO

Daisy Melwani

The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the Zika virus and associated consequences remain a significant public health challenge requiring intense action, but they no longer represent a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

The new Zika status now puts it in the class of other dangerous mosquito-borne diseases, like malaria and yellow fever.

The WHO committee stressed the need for continued research into the disease. Zika has been linked to congenital and other neurological disorders, and many aspects are not clearly understood. In October 2015 Brazil reported an association between Zika virus infection and microcephaly – a disorder affecting pregnant women and new born babies.

Since WHO declared a state of emergency on February 1, Zika has mainly taken centre stage among pregnant women or those wanting to fall pregnant, causing many to defer travel plans to highly affected areas such as Central and South America, some parts of Asia like Singapore and even some US States.

Since 2015, 67 countries and territories reported evidence of vector-borne Zika virus transmission.

zika-timeline-13-october-2016

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