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VIRUS ‘STILL A THREAT’

Local workers disinfect the famous Sambadrome
in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in January. Photo: EPA

Zika no longer public health emergency: WHO

GENEVA, November 19, 2016

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared that the Zika virus is no longer an international emergency but stressed the need for a long-term effort to address the disease linked to birth defects and neurological complications.

The Emergency Committee (EC) had declared the virus a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) in February on the basis of an extraordinary cluster of microcephaly and other neurological disorders.

Because research has now demonstrated the link between Zika virus infection and microcephaly, the EC felt that a robust longer-term technical mechanism was now required to manage the global response, said a WHO statement.

As a result, the EC felt that Zika virus and associated consequences remain a significant enduring public health challenge requiring intense action but no longer represent a PHEIC as defined under the International Health Regulations (IHR).

Many aspects of this disease and associated consequences still remain to be understood, but this can best be done through sustained research. The EC recommended that this should be escalated into a sustained programme of work with dedicated resources to address the long-term nature of the disease and its associated consequences.

The Committee reviewed the recommendations made at its previous meetings and agreed that WHO and partners had systematically addressed their advice. Furthermore, the EC reviewed and agreed to the WHO Zika transition plan outlined to establish the longer-term response mechanism which delivers the strategic objectives already identified in the Zika Strategic Response Plan. – TradeArabia News Service




Tags: WHO | Zika |

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