ZIKA outbreak trend

Added On February 4, 2016

Let's catch up with the latest on the Zika virus epidemic.
The first known case of Zika virus transmission in the United States was reported in Texas on Tuesday by local health officials.
A patient infected in Dallas, is likely to be contracted through sex and not a mosquito bite, the World Health Organization declared it in an international public health emergency.
Dallas County Health and Human Services said it received confirmation of the case from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In another development, two cases of the Zika virus have been confirmed in Australia.
Zika virus, linked to severe birth defects in thousands of babies in Brazil, is spreading rapidly in the Americas.
WHO officials on Tuesday expressed concern that it could hit Africa and Asia as well.
SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) ANTONY COSTELLO, WHO maternal, child & adolescent health director
"This is not a life threating infection like HIV or like Ebola. But the problem is that the complications of this relatively mild illness do have potentially devastating effects for families: to have a child with microcephaly and to have a tenfold increase in numbers and the potential for spread not just across Latin America, but into Africa, into Asia which have the highest birth rates in the world".
The WHO has declared the mosquito-borne Zika virus an international public health emergency. 
The disease has been linked to thousands of recent birth defects in Brazil. 
SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) ANTONY COSTELLO, WHO maternal, child and adolescent health director
"The worry with Zika virus which in three quarters, even 80 percent, will not produce symptoms in people, is there is parent association with a surge in cases of microcephaly."
Although there is still no conclusive evidence of the causal link between microcephaly and the Zika virus, there is enough concern to warrant immediate action.
One problem is facing scientists in containing the virus.
SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) ANTONY COSTELLO, WHO maternal, child and adolescent health director
"Zika virus, we don't have a commercially available diagnostic test and further the tests, we do have only detect the virus when it is active, let's say during a period of about five days."
That means many women could have been exposed to Zika virus, but there's no way to know who is infected.
Brazil was the first country to sound the alarm in the current crisis, warning in October that a number of microcephaly cases had emerged in the northeast. 
It has since become the worst affected country, with some 4, 000 suspected cases of microcephaly. 
With the Zika virus now a public health emergency affecting more than 20 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) is working with governments to mobilize communities to protect themselves from infection. 
With the virus spreading far and fast, there are simple measures that can help keep people safe.
"We are engaging communities in Brazil, and there are simple measures that we want to promote that can help keep people safe, including using insect repellents, just to go more into details, covering as much of the body as possible with long light colored clothing, removing places where mosquitoes can breed  and putting screens on windows and doors. And also some advice, for instance pregnant women who think they have been exposed to the virus should seek care by a trained health provider".