Sunday October 21, 2018

Video on Zika Virus: Many questions remain unanswered

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Zika virus
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– Dr. Munish Kumar Raizada
Watch this latest video on Zika virus.

Last year, it was Ebola virus that causes a global alarm and anxiety. Now it is Zika virus.

The World Health Organization is scrambling to address this virus that’s spreading rapidly through Latin America and the Caribbean. The virus has been linked to birth defects and, in adults, to a type of paralysis. Experts have lots of unanswered questions, as do ordinary citizens who spoke to VOA. More from health reporter Carol Pearson…

Thus, it emerges that this is causing alarm in Latin America. Many cases of newborn babies born with micro-cephaly (with the smaller size of the head) have been attributed to this virus.

But wait a minute!

Scientists say, they are not yet sure whether Zika virus is to be directly blamed for causing micro-cephaly (causal relationship) or is it something else (other factors) that are playing a role.

Zika virus is transmitted through mosquitoes. Thus, avoiding mosquito-bite is the way to prevent it. This virus can also be transmitted through sex.

Here is an update from Center for Disease Control (CDC) on the areas/countries affected by Zika Virus (as of February 2016):

  • Prior to 2015, such virus outbreaks occurred in areas of Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands.
  • In May 2015, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) issued an alert regarding the first confirmed virus infections in Brazil.
  • Currently, outbreaks are occurring in many countries.
  • Zika virus will continue to spread and it will be difficult to determine how and where the virus will spread over time.
  • India has not seen any case of this virus as yet. In the USA, about 52 cases of travel -associated Zika virus have been reported. No locally acquired case has been reported as yet.
  • This video is brought to you by NewsGram in collaboration with Voice of America.
  • The author is a Chicago based board certified Neonatologist and editor-in-chief of NewsGram.
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Copyright 2016 NewsGram

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Ebola Not A Global Health Emergency: WHO

WHO advised DRC's nine neighboring countries that they were at high risk of having the disease spread into their territories

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An emergency committee convened by the World Health Organization has decided that the Ebola outbreak in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo does not constitute a public health emergency of international concern.

The WHO said Wednesday that 216 cases of Ebola and 139 deaths had been reported, and its International Health Regulations Emergency Committee said the outbreak was a matter of serious concern, especially since it is occurring in an area of conflict in eastern DRC. It said this posed problems for health workers who need to move around freely and track people who are infected with the virus and need treatment.

But the committee said that one reason it did not regard the outbreak as a global threat was that the virus had not spread into neighboring countries.

Congo,ebola
A Congolese health worker administers Ebola vaccine to a boy who had contact with an Ebola sufferer in the village of Mangina in North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. VOA

Committee Chairman Robert Steffan said the international response to the outbreak had been very good. He said WHO and other agencies had achieved quite a lot since the outbreak was declared Aug. 1. In fact, he said the disease was being brought under control in North Kivu province.

The disease is flaring up in another province, and the response is being concentrated in this area, he said, “so we do have some optimism that this outbreak, just like the one in May, will be brought under control within reasonable time.”

Steffan said the committee agreed that declaring an international emergency at this time would hinder efforts to contain the Ebola virus. He said a declaration would have implications for travel and trade, making it difficult for needed experts and supplies to access the affected areas.

Ebola, WHO
A health care worker from the World Health Organization, left, gives an Ebola vaccination to a front line aid worker who will then vaccinate people who might potentially have the virus, in Mbandaka, Congo. VOA

However, as a precaution, WHO recommended exit screenings, including at airports, ports and land crossings. But it noted that entry screenings, particularly in distant airports, would have no public health benefit and would be costly.

Also Read: North Kivu And Ituri, Congo To Welcome More Than 80,000 Children In This New School Year

WHO advised DRC’s nine neighboring countries that they were at high risk of having the disease spread into their territories, and it said it was supporting them with equipment and personnel. It said these preparedness activities were expensive and would require substantial financial support from the international community. (VOA)

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