Americas mobilize against Zika

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Governments around the world mobilize to combat the Zika virus, which is spreading rapidly from Brazil where it is blamed for thousands of devastating birth defects. Diane Hodges reports.

Americas mobilize against Zika

Trucks move through the Tegucigalpa suburbs, spraying chemicals to kill the mosquito that carries the Zika virus.

The disease has been spreading rapidly — not just through Honduras, but across the Americas — since it was first identified in Brazil.

Zika poses little threat to most people. But when pregnant women catch it, Zika can severely affect their unborn babies, causing brain damage and unusually small heads.

There have been 600 reported cases in Honduras alone..but the worst may be yet to come, according to Elmer Mayes, director of the Honduras Medical College.

(SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) HONDURAS MEDICAL COLLEGE DIRECTOR, ELMER MAYES, SAYING:

“It will be the new epidemiological illness of this year because the cases are increasing and the season where we are supposed to get the most cases will begin in April.”

There is no cure or vaccine for the disease, which is causing panic in many countries, according to tropical disease expert Dr. Jimmy Whitworth.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) LONDON SCHOOL OF HYGIENE AND TROPICAL MEDICINE, DR. JIMMY WHITWORTH, SAYING:

“Anywhere where the mosquitoes exist you could see infections in the future. It could spread further north, it could feasibly get into the southern United States and it could potentially go back into Africa.”

Whitworth says it could be ten years before a vaccine is widely available.

With an expectation of another four million cases across the Americas, for now, this is the only treatment on offer.

Tags : Zika, against, Mobilize, Americas

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