Tuesday, 22 November 2016

The World Health Organization Declares An End To Global Health Emergency Over The Zika Virus. Deo Gratias. But Keep Praying.



Nine photos taken in September 2016 of infants, who were born with microcephaly,
in Pernambuco State, Brazil. The World Health Organisation declared an end to the
global health emergency for the virus on 18 November 2016.
Photo Credit: Felipe Dana/Associated Press.
Illustration: THE NEW YORK TIMES

The World Health Organisation (W.H.O.) declared an end to its global health emergency over the spread of the Zika virus on Friday, 18 November 2016, prompting dismay from some public health experts still wrestling with the epidemic.

An agency advisory committee said it ended the emergency — formally known as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern — because Zika is now shown to be another dangerous mosquito-borne disease like malaria or yellow fever, and should be treated, like them, as an ongoing problem, not an exceptional situation.

The experts who recommended ending the emergency were at pains to explain that they did not consider the current Zika crisis over.

“We are not downgrading the importance of Zika,” said Dr. Peter Salama, executive director of the W.H.O.’s emergencies programme. “We are sending the message that Zika is here to stay and the W.H.O. response is here to stay.”

Like other mosquito-borne diseases, Zika is seasonal and can be expected to return, Dr. Salama added, and Countries now need to consider it an endemic disease and respond accordingly, with help from the W.H.O.

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