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Tuesday, 2 February 2016

WHO warns of Zika virus vulnerable of spreading to Africa and Asia

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The Zika virus linked to a microcephaly outbreak in Latin America could spread to Africa and Asia, with the world’s highest birth rates, the World Health Organization warned as it launched a global response unit against the new emergency.
The WHO on Monday declared an international public health emergency due to Zika’s link to thousands of recent birth defects in Brazil.
“We’ve now set up a global response unit which brings together all people across WHO, in headquarters, in the regions, to deal with a formal response using all the lessons we’ve learned from the Ebola crisis,” Reuters quoted  Anthony Costello, WHO director for maternal, child and adolescent health, as saying on the issue.
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“The reason it’s a global concern is that we are worried that this could also spread back to other areas of the world where the population may not be immune,” he told a news conference in Geneva on Tuesday.
“And we know that the mosquitos that carry Zika virus – if that association is confirmed – are present through Africa, parts of southern Europe and many parts of Asia, particularly South Asia.”
Costello added the WHO was drafting “good guidelines” for pregnant women and mustering experts to work on a definition of microcephaly including a standardised measurement of baby heads.


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