The World Health Organization (WHO) has abolished the global health crisis caused by the Zika epidemic. The spread of the virus to more than 30 countries is still a serious problem and the fight requires further international efforts, declared the chairman of the WHO emergency committee, David Heymann, in Geneva.
The WHO had called the emergency in February, after the Zika virus had spread especially in Latin America. For most infections, mosquitoes are responsible, but the virus can also be transmitted from person to person – for example, in the case of sexual intercourse.
Virus experts had discussed the Zika situation for the World Health Organization in an international telephone conference. They decided that the emergency could be lifted. The spread of the virus has slowed, but its dangers should not be underestimated.
The Zika virus leads to flu-like symptoms in about 20 percent of the infected persons and is usually not fatal. Pregnant women can transfer the virus to their unborn children. According to the WHO, Zika is considered to be “a cause” for those anomalies, which are now called congenital Zika syndrome. Children with small heads and underdeveloped brains are born. The Zika virus is at least the “most likely explanation” for the outbreak in recent months in Latin America.
However, the pathogen alone may not be sufficient to explain the increase in malformations. The organization is based on the assessment of an expert group, which evaluated a total of 72 studies