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World Health Organization Calls Zika Virus Outbreak an International Health Emergency

Accepted submission by takyon at 2016-02-01 19:23:49

The World Health Organization (WHO) is intensifying efforts to investigate the mosquito-borne Zika virus [], which is believed to cause microcephaly (infants born with abnormally small brains):

The World Health Organization has declared the cluster of microcephaly associated with the spread of the Zika virus to be a public health emergency of international concern — a designation reserved for an"extraordinary event" that is "serious, unusual or unexpected." Dr. Margaret Chan, the WHO's director-general, said during a press briefing Monday that an international coordinated response was needed to improve mosquito control as well as to expedite the development of tests that detect the Zika virus.

The declaration is chiefly important to intensify the efforts to prove that the Zika virus is causing microcephaly in infants. Essentially, Chan said, if the Zika virus was not thought to be causing these neurological problems in newborns, it would not be a "clinically serious condition." Dr. David L. Heymann, assistant director-general of the WHO, said that it was unclear how long it would take to definitively link the Zika virus to microcephaly in children.

Brazil's Health Minister says that the Zika outbreak is worse than believed [] because most of the infected show no symptoms.

Here is another article [] taking down a conspiracy theory that claims that the Zika outbreak is the result of genetically modified mosquitoes and intended for population control.

NYT [], Wikipedia [].

Previously: World Health Organization to Convene Emergency Meeting for Zika Virus []

Original Submission