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Global emergency, Brain-damaged babies, Brazil gripped by Zika virus

Shocking and unwelcome! The World Health Organisation has been set global emergency alarm over the explosive spread of the mosquito-borne Zika virus. It is causing a surge in babies born with small heads and damaged brain in Brazil.30949AB300000578-0-Heartbreaking_The_Zika_virus_has_been_blamed_for_causing_severe_-a-32_1453940017433

Earlier, in mid of 2014, the virus was out of control and nearly 1,000 people had died but WHO didn’t declare an emergency alarm. Due to its sluggish response, surge in the number of positive cases has been increased. It’s a clear indication that the virus is ramping up very quickly and infecting pregnant women and child.

The experts claimed that causal relationship between Zika infection during pregnancy and microcephaly is not yet scientifically proven but it is strongly suspected. Team of researchers is coordinating international efforts to investigate and understand this relationship better.

Zika virus was first detected from a monkey in Uganda in 1947, but it had not been considered as serious issue until the current outbreak was suspected in Latin America last year. Brazil was the first country to sound the alarm of devastating Zika virus, after health authorities noticed a surge in babies born with small heads, damaged brain or microcephaly.

Till now, it has been become the worst affected country with some 4,000 suspected cases of microcephaly, of which 270 have been confirmed. WHO also estimates that there could be more than 4 million cases of Zika virus in America but no any recommendations and restrictions have been given yet.

WHO Director-General, Dr Margaret Chan said, “After a review of the evidence, the committee advised that the clusters of microcephaly and other neurological complications constitute an extraordinary event and public health threat to other parts of the world”. She also suggested pregnant women to wear long sleeves shirts, pants and use mosquito repellent.

Zika virus could be a deadly disease caused by a bite of Aedes genus of a mosquito. Symptoms include fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes).

Chan stated, “I am asking the Committee for advice on the appropriate level of international concern and for recommended measures that should be undertaken in affected countries and elsewhere. I will also ask the Committee to prioritize areas where research is most urgently needed”.

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