An outbreak of has become a “public health emergency of international concern” according to the World Health Organization. Here’s the details on the Zika virus outbreak and what you need to know…
Ebola Versus Zika
Ebola was the last “global emergency” outbreak that caused thousands of deaths worldwide. In December of 2013, nearly 11, 000 people died from the virus that spread quickly, hitting West Africa the hardest. The disease was caused by infection which was transmitted via contact with blood and body fluids, which is different from the Zika virus transmission by mosquitoes.
The virus is still being explored, but the World Health Organization Director General Dr. Margaret Chan has revealed that it is “strongly suspected” that the Zika virus could be cause of microcephaly. The condition causes infants to be born with brain damaged and under-sized heads. No direct link has scientifically been proven but the sharp increase is coinciding with the outbreak.
Another possibility is a rare neurological which leads to paralysis. No official connections have been made, but there is an investigation.
Currently, Dr. Chan is starting with the main cause spreading the virus – mosquitoes. Travel restrictions have not be sent and trade has not been limited. “At present the most important protective measures are the control of mosquito populations and the prevention of mosquito bites in at-risk individuals – especially pregnant women,” the WHO director explained. Public Health England (PHE) has also suggested that men returning from travel in any effected countries should take special care to use condoms during sexual activities for one month.
Main Regions of Impact
As of now, those returning from South and Central America, the Caribbean, Africa, south and south-east Asia and the Pacific region should be the most aware of their health. If you have visited these locations and develop a fever, it’s best to get it checked out ASAP.