Tuesday 6 December 2016

Zika crisis meeting under way amid rising concern over virus among WHO chiefs

Published 01/02/2016 | 14:19

The Zika virus believed to cause microcephaly is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti species of mosquito. Getty Images
The Zika virus believed to cause microcephaly is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti species of mosquito. Getty Images

The Zika virus outbreak should be considered a "public health emergency of international concern", the World Health Organisation has said.

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The WHO held a crisis meeting today to conside whether the explosive spread of the mosquito-borne Zika virus - which is linked to birth defects in the Americas - should be declared a global health emergency.

WHO last declared an emergency over the 2014 Ebola outbreak.

Last Thursday, WHO director-general, Dr Margaret Chan, said the level of alarm was "extremely high" despite the lack of proof that Zika is responsible for the spike in the number of babies born in Brazil with abnormally small heads.

WHO estimates the Americas could see up to four million Zika cases over the next year.

Press Association

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