Brazil and World Health Organization: Growing Spread of Zika Virus throughout the Americas
Galina Zobova and Kanako Itamae
Modern Tokyo Times
The World Health Organization (WHO) believes that the Zika virus will spread to all but two nations throughout South America and North America, with Canada and continental Chile being the two exceptions. Of course, the severity of the crisis varies enormously throughout this vast region based on climate factors, the environment and other important areas. On top of this, you have an enormous disparity in health care and income.
Certain parts of Brazil have been hit hard by the Zika crisis and the fear is that increased cases will follow in other parts of South America. Christian Lindmeier, spokesperson for the WHO, notified last week that 3,893 cases in Brazil of microcephaly have been reported – including the deaths of 49. This figure is a far cry from the usual average of 160 cases per year in Brazil prior to the latest major outbreak of Zika.
According to Lindmeier “The link between the Zika and the microcephaly… is still being investigated.” Despite this, the spokesperson for the WHO indicates that Zika “seems the strongest candidate.”
Fox News reports “Babies across the region, and at least one in the United States, have been born with abnormally smaller heads – a condition doctors call microcephaly, which can cause brain damage.”
The Aedes aegypti mosquito is known to carry chicungunya, dengue fever and Zika. However, despite continuous governments in Brazil trying to tackle the situation, it is apparent that the latest crisis shows the limitations of endless campaigns.
Indeed, Marcelo Castro, the Health Minister of Brazil, comments strongly “For nearly 30 years the mosquito has been transmitting these illnesses to our population and since then we’ve been fighting, but we are losing.”
France 24 (France 24 with AFP) reports “Alarm over thousands of birth defects blamed on the mosquito-borne Zika virus spread beyond Latin America on Friday, as the United States expanded a travel warning for pregnant women.”
Lee Jay Walker at Modern Tokyo Times says “The severity of the ongoing crisis is clearly raising alarm bells because some nations in South America have issued health warnings for women to avoid becoming pregnant. This notably applies to areas where incidents are high. Therefore, it is hoped that regional nations and the international community will respond to the current spread of Zika – while remaining focused on other major problems like Ebola.”
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