Zika is no longer an international emergency: WHO
The World Health Organization announced on November 18 that the virus causing birth defects in children is no longer considered a public health emergency, but it remains a threat requiring long-term management.
The Emergency Committee managing the Zika crisis worldwide has announced that the emergency status on the disease has been lifted, but the virus spreading still constitutes a threat that needs to be addressed in the most sustained of ways.
The virus, present in more than 60 countries since its initial outbreak in Brazil last year, will continue its spreading if not properly managed. Continued research in order to develop effective vaccination protocols will be further required, as Zika can still cause infections in the United States as well as other regions of the world.
“It remains crucially important that pregnant women avoid traveling to areas with local transmission of Zika, because of the devastating complications that can occur in fetuses that become infected during pregnancy,” explained the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in the official statement.
Nevertheless, some health experts have already expressed their concerns over the importance of the virus and the general situation of the medical research if the disease loses its designation of “international emergency”.
“I think WHO’s decision is unwise. Although Zika’s spread has waned, it still holds the potential for an explosive epidemic. If it were to reemerge in the Americas or jump to another part of the world, it would significantly threaten a new generation of children born with disabilities such as microcephaly,” commented Lawrence Gostin, global health law expert, Georgetown University.
According to the CDC, further public health efforts should concentrate on a better understanding of the consequences the mosquito borne disease implies, in order to develop more accurate diagnostics as well as more efficient prevention methods to limit the spreading throughout the Caribbean and Latin America.
So far, 2.300 microcephaly cases have been confirmed worldwide and 19 countries have already reported the existence of Guillain-Barre Syndrome caused by the Zika virus. – Source: www.travelwires.com