House of Lords Library

The Zika Virus: Update, February 2016

Published Tuesday, February 2, 2016

This House of Lords Library briefing examines the recent outbreak of the Zika Virus.

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In May 2015, the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) issued an alert following the first confirmed case of the Zika virus in Brazil. Since then, the virus has rapidly spread within the country and to 23 other Latin American nations. With the World Health Organisation designating the Zika virus as a ‘global emergency’, PAHO predict that the Americas can “expect three to four million cases” of the Zika virus by the end of the year. Efforts to combat the virus have included Brazil’s government mobilising troops to offer advice to citizens as to how to destroy mosquito breeding grounds near and around their homes. The Governments of Colombia and El Salvador have also advised women to delay pregnancy by six months and two years, respectively, due to the reported link between the virus and Guillain-Barre syndrome and pregnant women giving birth to babies with birth defects. At present, there is no vaccine available to treat the Zika virus.

Lords In Focus LIF-2016-0011

Author: Eren Waitzman

Topics: Health services, Latin America, Medicine, North America

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House of Lords Library

The House of Lords Library delivers research and information services to Members and staff of the House in support of parliamentary business.