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Uncertainty surrounds Zika outlook for Lat Am

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) says the long-term outlook for the Americas, resulting from the Zika virus outbreak is uncertain and the number of people affected is difficult to gauge.
    
However, the organisation says it is responding with a four-tiered strategy.
    
Dr. Sylvain Aldighieri, PAHO’s incident manager for Zika, gave an update at a briefing for members of the organisation's Executive Committee, which is meeting this week.
    
Dr. Aldighieri said PAHO has sent 88 experts on 53 missions to countries and territories, focusing on priority areas of detection, prevention, response and research in Zika.
     
He said much work remains to be done in research to define the absolute risk for congenital malformations and to describe the clinical spectrum of Zika congenital infections.  
    
Jamaica has recorded 24 confirmed cases of the Zika virus. Four of the cases involve pregnant women.
 
Progress being made to prevent vector borne diseases 
 
And the PAHO Executive Committee says progress is being made with a new strategy to prevent and control arboviral diseases including dengue, chikungunya, yellow fever, and Zika.
    
The new strategy focuses on strengthened surveillance, early detection of emerging and re-emerging arboviruses, integrated control, improved detection and diagnosis, and improved control of the mosquito vectors of these diseases.   
    
Head of Communicable Diseases and Health Analysis at PAHO, Dr. Marcos Espinal, says despite control efforts, dengue continues to increase.
    

14 million cases and 7,000 deaths were recorded between 2000 and 2014, and chikungunya has caused more than 1.7 million cases since it arrived in the region in December 2013.

Last modified onFriday, 24 June 2016 09:26

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