The World Health Organisation has predicted the Zika virus outbreak could affect some 3 to 4 million people in the Americas.
WHO Director-General Margaret Chan said “the level of alarm is extremely high”, she told the executive board members in Geneva that “as of today, cases have been reported in 23 countries and territories in the region”, refering to the Americas.
The organisation is yet to establish the link between the Zika virus and the birth defects but it strongly suspects it.
the level of alarm is extremely high
“A causal relationship between Zika virus infection, birth malformations and neurological symptoms has not yet been established, but is strongly suspected. This is a very important point. The possible links, only recently suspected, have rapidly changed the risk profile of Zika from a mild threat to one of alarming proportions”. Chan said.
The WHO will meet on Monday to set up an Emergency Committee to determine the level of the international response to the outbreak.
“I am asking the Committee for advice on the appropriate level of international concern and for recommended measures that should be undertaken in affected countries and elsewhere”, Chan said.
3,893 cases of microcephaly, a birth defect in babies linked to the Zika various has been reported in Brazil since October.