A disease linked to the Zika virus in Latin America poses a global public health emergency requiring a united response, says the World Health Organization.
Experts are worried that the virus is spreading far and fast, with devastating consequences.
The infection has been linked to thousands of babies being born with underdeveloped brains.
The WHO alert puts Zika in the same category of concern as Ebola.
It means research and aid will be fast-tracked to tackle the infection.
WHO director general, Margaret Chan called Zika an “extraordinary event” that needed a coordinated response.
“I am now declaring that the recent cluster of microcephaly and other neurological abnormalities reported in Latin America following a similar cluster in French Polynesia in 2014 constitutes a public health emergency of international concern.”
Well, at least we keep a tight lid on people migrating northward from Latin America…
Seriously though, this could be turned to the advantage of the one or two candidates who are running against open borders (hint: neither are Democrats).
Meanwhile, here is a statement from the CDC about its efforts to combat the rapidly growing Zika problem:
Since the first large Zika outbreak ever recognized, in 2007, the CDC has had boots on the ground responding. Our laboratories have developed a test that can confirm Zika in the first week of illness or in a sample from an affected child. Diagnosing prior infection with Zika is much more challenging, and CDC scientists as well as private companies are working to develop tests that can do this accurately. This is a priority, and we are working to do in weeks what would usually take months or years.
We are supporting laboratories in Puerto Rico and around the United States to provide testing, and we are using cutting-edge genomic methods in this effort. We are also working with Puerto Rico and other places at risk around the country to improve mosquito control efforts before we head into warmer weather when mosquitoes become a bigger problem. The CDC also provides support and guidance for health care providers and the public. You’ll know of any new developments as soon as we do.
Across the Department of Health and Human Services, there is also important work related to Zika, particularly to speed the development of tests, treatments and vaccines.
Apologies to any devoted readers who were hoping to begin the week with some good news.