(Q24N via AP) GENEVA – The head of the World Health Organization’s Zika response team is predicting that Brazil will host a “fantastic Olympics” and that the mosquito-borne virus will be “way down” by the time the Summer Games begin in Rio de Janeiro on August 5.
The most common symptoms of Zika virus are fever, rash, joint pain, or conjunctivitis (pink eye).
He said that although the United States recently reported a case of the Zika virus being transmitted sexually, it is still regarded as a very rare occurrence.
Knowledge of the link between Zika and birth defects is still evolving, but until more is known, pregnant women in any trimester should take special precautions and consider postponing travel to any area where Zika virus is spreading.
The ministry says anyone who has travelled to countries affected by the virus should speak with their health-care provider, who can advise them on the need for testing. Today, the North Carolina
Department of Health and Human Services announced the first case of Zika virus infection in a North Carolina resident. Zika cases have soared in Caribbean countries, Mexico, South and Central America since the first instances were revealed in Brazil last May.
At the moment the South Africa National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) is busy conducting confirmatory tests, according to the minister. A serious birth defect of the brain called microcephaly and other adverse pregnancy outcomes have been reported in some infants born to mothers who were infected with Zika virus while pregnant.
But the virus has now spread very rapidly to 24 countries and territorites in less than a year and has been associated with an alarming surge in neurological disorders such as microcephaly. A person carrying the virus in the blood would have to be bitten by a correct sub-type of an Aedes aegypti mosquito within this period for the virus to be transmitted to the next person through a bite by the same mosquito.
The WHO is taking the approach of, as Aylward puts it, considering “the virus guilty until proven innocent” because of the devastating potential consequences resulting from Zika.
Colombia was now experiencing a large outbreak of the Zika virus.