The Zika virus is "spreading explosively" across the Americas, the World Health Organization warned today, estimating that there could be 3 million to 4 million cases across the Americas over the next year, according to an Associated Press story. WHO also announced it will hold an emergency meeting Monday to discuss the possibility of declaring a public health emergency.
Meanwhile, the White House looked to tame the public’s fears over Zika by reiterating the glaring difference between the Zika virus and Ebola, which spread into the United States in 2014. President Obama called for more research on diagnostic testing, vaccines and therapeutics after a meeting at the White House on Tuesday.
On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued interim guidelines for evaluating and testing infants possibly infected with the Zika virus. The CDC recommends testing for:
- Infants with microcephaly or intracranial calcifications born to women who traveled to or resided in an area with Zika virus transmission while pregnant
- Infants born to mothers with positive or inconclusive test results for Zika virus infection.
- For infants with laboratory evidence of a possible congenital Zika virus infection, additional clinical evaluation and follow-up is recommended.
2016 Olympic Concerns
Another major concern is the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil are a little more than six months away. More than 10,500 athletes from 206 countries are expected, not to mention the 7.5 million tickets expected to be sold. Health agents will be closely inspecting Olympic venues during the events for mosquito hotbeds.