The Zika virus is on an “explosive” rise in the America’s, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). It has been linked to severe birth defects in children in Brazil, however, it has not fully been scientifically proven that this link fully exists.
This comes after last years Ebola epidemic in West Africa, which the U.N.’s health agency was in major scrutiny over because of a slow response. This time it seems they are quick to jump onto any course of action to prevent the disease from becoming an epidemic.
The WHO’s Director-General Margaret Chan told elite members of the WHO in Geneva that the virus has exponentially spread throughout the America’s via mosquitoes.
“Last year, the virus was detected in the Americas, where it is now spreading explosively. As of today, cases have been reported in 23 countries and in territories in the region.
We are not going to wait for the science to tell us there is a link (with birth defects). We need to take actions now.
The level of alarm is extremely high.”
3,893 cases of microcephaly have been reported in Brazil, apparently linked to the Zika virus. Microcephaly is a condition in which babies are born with abnormally small heads and brains. The WHO has stated that the virus has not been established as the cause for microcephaly, but it is “strongly suspected.”
Brazilian President, Dilma Rousseff said that he must rage war against the mosquito population that is spreading the disease.
U.S. National Institutes of Health’s Anthony Fauci, helped brief President Obama on the Zika outbreak this week, stating his predictions for the virus.
“We will see little mini-outbreaks like in Florida or in Texas that can be well-controlled with mosquito vector control. Hopefully we won’t see anything worse than that.”
Concerns about travelers during the Summer Olympics (which were supposed to be held in Brazil) contracting the virus were addressed. Fauci stated that going after the mosquito population was probably the best course of action.
Check out the full Reuters report here.