News / Health

    Red Cross Launches Emergency Appeal for Zika Virus Response

    Brazilian soldiers conduct an inspection for the Aedes aegypti mosquito as part of efforts to prevent the spread of the Zika virus, along a street in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Feb. 1, 2016.
    Brazilian soldiers conduct an inspection for the Aedes aegypti mosquito as part of efforts to prevent the spread of the Zika virus, along a street in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Feb. 1, 2016.
    VOA News

    The Red Cross has put out an emergency appeal for funding to help with the outbreak of the Zika virus, which could infect as many as 4 million people in the Americas this year.

    The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescents Societies launched the appeal Tuesday for $2.3 million to support the regional response to the crisis.

    The virus is believed to be linked to microcephaly, a neurological disorder in which babies are born with abnormally small heads.

    On Monday the World Health Organization declared the spread of the Zika virus to be a global public health emergency and made the prediction that 4 million people could be infected this year.

    Twenty-four countries had confirmed circulation of the Zika virus by the end of January. There is currently no treatment.

    Research into vaccine

    French pharmaceutical company Sanofi said Tuesday that it has begun research and development of a vaccine for the virus, which is named for a forest in Uganda where the mosquito-borne virus was first identified in 1947.

    The Zika virus is transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes, which also cause dengue and chikungunya disease.

    Monday in Geneva, the WHO said Zika is a "public health emergency of international concern." But it stopped short of calling for travel or trade restrictions.

    No firm link has been established between the Zika virus and microcephaly, but it is hard to ignore a possible connection between the virus and this brain disorder.

    FILE - Patients participate in a Zika prevention talk as they wait to be attended to at the Women's National Hospital in San Salvador, El Salvador, Jan. 29, 2016.
    FILE - Patients participate in a Zika prevention talk as they wait to be attended to at the Women's National Hospital in San Salvador, El Salvador, Jan. 29, 2016.

    Nearly 4,000 suspected cases of microcephaly have been reported in Brazil since October, compared with 150 similar cases in 2014.

    Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff's chief of staff said Monday that pregnant women should not travel to Brazil for the 2016 Olympics because of the risk of contracting the virus.

    Not ruling anything out

    But WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl told VOA the surge in the number of microcephaly cases and the Zika virus may just be coincidental in terms of time and place. He cautioned, however, that experts are not ruling anything out.

    "One of the curiosities is why we have so many neurological cases in, say, the northeast of Brazil, but we have not had it in other places," he said. "So, we really need to understand what is existing that causes these microcephaly cases, for example, in children."

    FILE - Mothers with their children, who have microcephaly, await medical care at the Hospital Oswaldo Cruz, in Recife, Brazil, Jan. 26, 2016.
    FILE - Mothers with their children, who have microcephaly, await medical care at the Hospital Oswaldo Cruz, in Recife, Brazil, Jan. 26, 2016.

    Hartl dismissed fears that the Zika virus could pose a threat similar to that of Ebola, which caused more than 11,000 deaths in West Africa.

    'Never killed a person'

    He noted Ebola is transmitted person to person via infected bodily fluids and kills about 50 percent of its victims.

    "Zika has never killed a person and it is transmitted by the mosquito," he said. "So, we know that there are those two fundamental differences at least.  Let us say that Zika on its own would not be the consideration of an emergency committee. What is the concern to the international community is the possible link with neurological disorders."

    Until there is a vaccine, Hartl said governments must stop the disease at its source by removing stagnant water where mosquitoes breed and fumigating houses to kill the mosquito.

    He said pregnant women, in particular, should protect themselves by sleeping under mosquito nets, using mosquito repellents, and wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants.

    WATCH: Related video on Ziki virus

    Zika Virus May be Hard to Stopi
    X
    February 02, 2016 12:19 AM
    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.

    You May Like

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora