WHO to mull over calling Zika outbreak a global emergency
THE WORLD Health Organization (WHO) will convene today (Monday) an International Health Regulations Emergency Committee to find out whether the outbreak of the Zika virus and its link to the observed increase in neurological disorders and brain malformations among infants constituted an international public health emergency concern.
In a statement Sunday, the WHO said Director General Margaret Chan will meet with the committee today in Geneva to talk about the spread of the virus, particularly in the Latin American countries.
Decisions and advice on the matter will be made public on its website, it said.
“The [WHO] is supporting the scaling up and strengthening of surveillance systems in countries that have reported cases of Zika and of microcephaly and other neurological conditions that may be associated with the virus,” it said.
Surveillance is also being beefed up in countries where the virus may spread, said the WHO.
Last week, Secretary Janette Garin said the Department of Health was on “active surveillance” against the virus but the Philippines’ risk was lower compared to countries that had high volumes of tourist traffic to and from Brazil, the center of the outbreak.
Still, the DOH Sunday reiterated its call for all Filipino households to maintain cleanliness and observe precautions against dengue to avoid the spread of the Zika virus, which is carried by the same aggressive Aedes aegypti mosquito.
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