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Neurologists warn on Zika

Friday April 29th, 2016

Some 42 countries have now reported their first outbreaks of the Zika virus, according to figures published yesterday.

And in nine countries, including Canada, the virus has been transmitted between people, according to the World Health Organisation.

WHO said six countries have now reported cases of microcephaly and other foetal malformations linked to congenital infection.

In total some 52 counties now have mosquito-borne transmission of the virus.

The World Federation of Neurology said yesterday it had established a working group on the virus, warning of potentially widespread neurological complications from infection.

President Professor Raad Shakir, from London, UK, said: “The Zika virus is more and more showing its ugly face, and the international community increasingly realises the dimensions of this problem.

"Neurological expertise is crucial to deal with the consequences of what proves to be a devastating epidemic."

He added: “In many areas particularly hit by Zika virus there is a clear lack of neurological resources, a shortage of neurologists, in particular also child neurologists, a lack of neurophysiological testing possibilities, and scarce intensive care facilities.

“If we do not overcome these problems there shall be more unnecessary deaths which would not have happened if the affected individuals would have lived in less deprived parts of the world.”

The working group chair Professor John England, from the Louisiana State University, New Orleans, USA, said: “Of great concern is the fact that the geographical distribution of the virus has steadily and rapidly expanded. There is great concern that the virus outbreak will continue to spread to other countries and territories.

"It has already reached the Caribbean countries and may spread to the southern United States and other countries where the virus mosquito vector (Aedes aegypti) thrives."

Tags: Brain & Neurology | Flu & Viruses | North America | South America | World Health

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