WHO to hold special meeting on Zika virus

World Health Organisation will hold special session to discuss spreading of Zika virus as criticisms grows

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

A health worker fumigates the Altos del Cerro neighbourhood as part of preventive measures against the Zika virus and other mosquito-borne diseases in Soyapango, El Salvador January 21, 2016.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) will hold a special session on Thursday amid criticism towards the agency due to not taking quick action against the spreading Zika virus across the Americas which has caused thousands of babies to be born with abnormalities.

WHO’s General Director Margaret Chan will be addressing the UN corporate board during the session in Geneva as member countries have agreed to take more steps on Wednesday in order to stop spreading of mosquito-transmitted virus.

US researchers have urged WHO to take quick measures against Zika virus.

The researchers from Georgetown University along with health and infectious disease experts declared Zika virus as a serious health crisis that threatens global public health.

The WHO authorities last April accepted the serious missteps taken by the agency on fighting against Ebola crisis which affected entire Western Africa and killed more than 10,000 people in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia.

Moreover, Chile-based LATAM Airlines LAN.SN (LFL.N), Latin America’s largest airline, said it would give passengers the opportunity to change their destinations of offer refunds for pregnant women who booked flights to Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and other affected countries.


Zika is an infectious virus that causes brain damage and physical development problems in new born babies resulting in unusually small heads. The virus was not a crisis in Brazil until this year, when health experts found a connection with the extreme increase of microcephaly.

Since October, nearly 400 suspected Zika cases of microcephaly have been reported in Brazil, compared with less than 150 cases in the country in all of 2014.

According to estimates, nearly 80 percent of infected people have no symptoms of the virus, also it is difficult to diagnose pregnant women to see whether they are infected or not.

The mosquito-born virus has caused brain damage in babies in Brazil but despite this, effective medical treatment has been developed yet.


TRTWorld and agencies