As the Zika virus outbreak continues to spread reaching 24 countries in the Americas (as of 27 January) the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Eastern Mediterranean Regional Director, calls on governments to work together to keep the Region protected.
“Zika virus is spread by the Aedes mosquito, the same type of mosquito that transmits dengue, yellow fever and chikungunya,” said Dr. Ala Alwan. “No cases of the virus have been reported so far in this Region, but this type of mosquito exists in several countries here, so it is essential that government leaders take steps to prevent the virus from spreading if travelers returning from affected countries are infected with the virus.”
Most people with the disease experience mild fever, skin rash and conjunctivitis, also know as pink eye, for up to a week. But, for the first time, in conjunction with the recent outbreak there has been a steep increase in births of babies with abnormally small heads and neurological syndromes. It is not yet proven with certainty that the virus is causing the birth defects, but evidence so far suggests strongly that there is a link and further investigations are underway.