CHRISTIANITY DAILY

Zika Virus No Longer Global Emergency, Classified with Dengue in Threat Level: WHO

Zika virus
(Photo : coniferconifer/Flickr/CC) WHO declared that Zika virus was no longer an international emergency.

World Health Organization (WHO) has announced that Zika is no longer an international emergency.

The WHO Emergency Committee however said that it may still represent "a highly significant and a long-term problem".

The virus had spread to more than 60 countries after it was first detected in Brazil last year. It was linked to birth defects and neurological complications in babies.

"The Committee agreed that Zika must now be managed within the World Health Organisation as are other very important infectious diseases and other threats," Dr. David Heymann, chair of the Zika Emergency Committee, said in a news conference.

The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) still recommends women to not travel to regions where Zika is not eradicated yet.

"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 foetuses that become infected during pregnancy," the CDC said in a statement.

The virus is not known to have many adverse effects on adults, but causes symptoms of fever, rash, and joint pain in one out of five people. However, the disease has been linked to microcephaly in babies which is a condition where the brain does not grow to its normal size.

The CDC has confirmed 139 locally-acquired cases in the US until now, along with 4,115 travel-associated ones. One of the cases was related to laboratory-handling of the virus. Some 35 patients had acquired the disease through sexual transmission. Out of all the known cases, 13 had Guillain-Barré syndrome.

In 1947, the virus was first identified in Uganda among monkeys. The first human case was recorded in Nigeria in 1954, which is thought to have spread to other parts of Africa, Pacific Islands, Americas, and South East Asia.

After the international emergency on the disease has been removed, it has been put under the same class as other diseases including dengue, which require work on the part of public health officials and continued research so that effective vaccines could be developed.

Tags Zika Virus, World Health Organization (WHO), US Centres for Disease Control (CDC), Guillain-Barré syndrome

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