FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2016

WHO director-general releases statement about Zika virus

The Zika virus has been detected in 38 countries. | File photo

Dr. Margaret Chan, the director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), recently released a statement about the outbreak of the Zika virus, which has continued to be an ongoing problem since Feb. 1.

The Western Hemisphere first noticed the Zika virus on May 7, 2015, when Brazil confirmed that thousands of mild disease cases related to the Zika virus were appearing. This infectious disease quickly reached epidemic proportions.

When the confirmation was made in May, the disease appeared to be mild and there had not been any reports of hospitalizations or death.

Unfortunately, this did not last long, as Brazil confirmed a significant increase in Guillain-Barre syndrome cases and an increase in microcephaly in newborn children. It quickly became apparent to scientists that the Zika virus is related to severe fetal malformations.

Today, researchers have confirmed that Guillain-Barre syndrome, microcephaly and other serious central nervous system diseases affect pregnant women as well as others. They have also found that the virus can be sexually transmitted.

In less than 12 months, Zika has grown from a mild phenomenon to a serious disease. The virus has been detected in 38 countries, and scientists continue to conduct studies to gather more information and to improve their understanding of the disease. 

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