How to keep your kids safe in the age of Zika
The Zika virus outbreak in Latin America and the Caribbean has already claimed more than 200 lives, leaving more than 100,000 people infected and threatening to turn into a humanitarian crisis.
And with many countries on edge, the World Health Organization says the crisis could worsen as more people are infected.
The outbreak has prompted the government of Colombia to impose mandatory quarantine measures for anyone with symptoms.
The move is one of the first steps toward an effort to contain the outbreak and curb the spread of the virus in the region.
But while the new measures have made headlines, they aren’t likely to curb the virus, said Dr. Joseph Dallal, the WHO’s director of public health and preventive medicine.
“We are going to see this virus go on in the population and the country will not be able to control it, and it will go on unchecked,” Dr. Dallally said on the sidelines of a conference on Friday in Washington.
Colombia has a history of controlling infectious diseases.
But this is the first time it has imposed a blanket quarantine for pregnant women, people who are pregnant, or anyone who has symptoms of Zika, the virus that causes a mild illness that usually starts in the womb.
“This will be a very, very, challenging situation, but it will not stop this virus,” Dr Dallali said.
He said that while the WHO has warned that the virus could spread in Latin American countries, the government is taking the precautionary measures necessary to keep people safe.
Colombia’s Health Ministry, which was established in July to help fight the outbreak, said the country’s quarantine measures will continue.
The country also is taking steps to vaccinate its citizens, including those who are at high risk for contracting the virus and those who have traveled abroad to Latin America.
The WHO recommends that pregnant women be vaccinated with the MMR vaccine, and people with symptoms should be checked for the virus.
But it said it is not recommending a mandatory vaccine for pregnant or breastfeeding women.
If a pregnant woman is infected, the baby must be placed in a crib with a mother and a nurse, the vaccine will not work, and the mother will not get vaccinated, the CDC said.
The vaccine will be available for all adults, regardless of their age, and all pregnant women should receive it, the agency said.
Colombia also announced a mandatory ban on travel to the U.S. to avoid the spread.
The government has imposed restrictions on international flights, including flights to the United States and Canada, but airlines have said they are complying.
The restrictions are meant to keep the virus from reaching the U,S.
“The virus is not going to pass through the U., so we are not worried,” said Jorge Duarte, an airport spokesman in Bogota.
In other developments Friday: • U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the world is now “on the cusp of a new pandemic.”
• The WHO warned that more than half of all countries in the world are at risk of a pandemic, and that countries will face more challenges if the outbreak spreads.
• The U.K. and France are the only European countries that have declared a state of emergency, according to a WHO report released Friday.
It said the declaration is needed to ensure that the public health response is coordinated.
“While some of the measures that are in place may not be enough, they are necessary to ensure the health of all people in a given area,” the report said.
• A Spanish study found that Zika can affect unborn babies in a way that can cause birth defects.
The research was published online in the journal Current Biology.
• An international team of researchers, including scientists from Britain, Brazil and France, said they have found a link between Zika and fetal abnormality in newborns.
The researchers said they were the first to find a fetal abnormally large brain in a baby born with Zika.
They also found that the Zika virus may be able cause the birth defects in newborn babies.
The Zika-linked fetal abnormalities were more common in the Zika-affected areas of Brazil and in areas with high rates of Zika infection, the researchers said.
It is not clear if the fetus affected by the Zika infection had a genetic mutation or had other health problems.