Divulgação, Notícias

End of worldwide Zika emergency splits opinions

Current epidemiological information point to a diffusion potential of Zika virus infection, however the control measures are better structured and there is a reinforce by cooperative researches


From neglected disease to global emergency, Zika is redefined as a severe illness

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced on November 18 that the Zika outbreak – which struck over 75 countries in a one-year period – is no longer a sanitary emergency with international reach. However, the entity was severely criticized by international resources for the decision. According to them, the measure could restrain resources attributed to researches about the virus and microcephaly. For Lawrence Gostin, world health professor at Georgetown University, the decision was a mistake. The international response to Zika was sluggish and the fact the WHO declared a worldwide emergency, was able to mobilize governments and donors, he said.

The Public Health Emergency of International Concern for the microcephaly outbreak was determined by an experts committee considering the problems magnitude and transcendence and the outbreaks expansion potential. In the committees fifth meeting, they agreed the mobilization for more knowledge and to combat the epidemic was timely and the current conditions no longer represent an emergency situation, said Doctor Celina Martelli, Visiting Professor at the Aggeu Magalhães Research Center – Fiocruz Recife. The epidemiologist reminds the WHO will continue tracking the worlds microcephaly and other neurological disorders and Zika virus situation, supporting whenever necessary.

About the WHOs declaration that Zika is in motion and is here to stay, the epidemiologist physician at the Pernambuco State Health Secretary, Doctor Carmen Dhalia, admits the current epidemiological information indeed show a Zika virus diffusion potential for populations still not infected (susceptible) living in favorable environmental conditions for the vectors multiplication. According to the expert, the transmission potential by blood and infected fluids still has to be considered. Therefore, interrupting the Zika transmission will depend on the size of the susceptible population, prevention enhancements (vaccine development and availability, etc.) and vector control.

Regarding the virus circulation evolution and the potential to spark new epidemics, Doctor Celina believes the existence of previously infected populations (immune), advances in antiviral treatments, vaccines and/or vector control will allow the persistence of viral circulation or the disappearance of the infection/disease in human populations. Shortly before the WHOs announcement, the Health Ministry had decided to maintain the National Emergency in public health due to the virus. The WHO declared Brazils decision was appropriate.…