Zika emergency meeting to take place in Geneva

    Zika emergency meeting to take place in Geneva

    Feb 1, Geneva: An emergency meeting of the World Health Organization (WHO) is being held in Geneva to decide whether to declare a global emergency. The meeting will also discuss the explosive spread of the Zika virus.

    WHO officials have described Zika as moving "from a mild threat to one of alarming proportions".

    Most cases will have no symptoms but the virus has been linked to brain abnormalities in thousands of babies, mainly in South America.

    According to media reports, declaring a "public health emergency of international concern" would establish Zika as a serious global threat and lead to money, resources and scientific expertise being thrown at the problem both in South America and in laboratories around the world.

    The WHO's actions are under intense scrutiny after its handling of the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa.

    Experts in disease control, virology and vaccine development will brief WHO director general Dr Margaret Chan, at the meeting.

    The biggest concern is the surge in levels of microcephaly - babies born with abnormally small heads - and the rare nervous system disorder Guillain-Barre syndrome.

    The link between the virus and these disorders has not been confirmed, but Dr Chan said it was "strongly suspected" and was "deeply alarming", BBC news said.

    The Oslo Times


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