Zika Virus May Spread in Europe, says WHO

Published By : 18 May 2016 | Published By : QYRESEARCH

The Zika virus, which is an infectious disease spread by the Aedes mosquitoes, is known to lead to severe birth defects in infants. The rising prevalence of the disease has garnered worldwide attention in the recent past and internal healthcare reports and research results suggest that the virus is spreading from its origin, in regions on the north-eastern coats of the Black Sea and the island of Madeira, to other parts of the globe as well.

The WHO has said that the virus may spread into Europe as the weather gets warmer. The risks, however, are low to moderate and the risk varies from country to country. Through this assessment of the threat of the Zika virus to Europe, the WHO has appealed the countries that are at higher risk of spread of the virus to strengthen their efforts and capacities to prevent a large scale outbreak.

The recent outbreak of Zika in Brazil has led to heightened global focus on the disease and ways to prevent it. The virus has led to several cases of a birth defect called microcephaly in infants born to women who were infected with Zika during pregnancy.

The WHO has said that there are strong chances of Zika also leading to a rare neurological disease, Guillain-Barre, which leads to temporary paralysis in adults.

In February, the WHO had categorized Zika outbreak as a PHEIC – a public health emergency of international concern, and had warned that the disease was spreading at an explosive rate in the Americas.

The European office of the WHO has stated that if no measures are taken to prevent the outbreak of Zika virus, there are moderate chances of local Zika transmission in about 18 countries in the region. These countries should improve control methods to prevent the spread of the mosquito and bring about a reduction in their densities, stated WHO Europe.

36 more countries examined in the assessment were shown to have low, very low, or almost no likelihood of an outbreak of the Zika virus owing to the unfavorable climates for breeding of the Aedes mosquitoes in the countries. 

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