(1 February 2016) The Wellcome Trust blog reports that today The World Health Organisation (WHO) today declared the Zika virus outbreak in South and Central American a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). It is the first time since the Ebola outbreak that began in 2014 that the WHO has declared this status, and only the fourth time in its history.
A coordinated international response will now see resources concentrated on disease surveillance, mosquito control and research in an attempt to control the spread of infection in the Americas and beyond. But how did a virus that many people had never heard of until a few weeks ago so quickly become a global health concern and what efforts are needed to tackle it?
The Wellcome Trust blog offers an overview of the virus, including: What Zika is, transmission of the virus including mosquitoes, microcephaly and other complications, unanswered questions, prospects for a vaccine, mosquito control, and further reading.