Zika virus threat

Just as the ebola threat finally and thankfully recedes, nature reminds us that life and health are great gifts we should cherish and protect.

Ebola was, more or less, confined to the poorest and most vulnerable regions of the world but the latest international scare — the zika virus — has already reached Europe. The director of the Irish Tropical Medical Bureau believes he has treated a case of the virus in Ireland. Cases have been confirmed in Germany, Switzerland, and Denmark. The World Health Organisation says that the virus is “spreading explosively” in the Americas and that as many as 4m people could be infected by the end of the year.

Worryingly, there is no vaccine or cure for zika, which has been linked to microcephaly, a serious condition that can cause lifelong developmental problems. Pregnant women have been encouraged not to travel to areas where the virus is active . As ever, personal responsibility and caution are the best defence against a virus which is once again making the lives of the world’s weakest even more challenging.


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