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Zika Declared International Public Health Emergency

Source:  Public Health Newswire, February 2, 2016 - The Nation's Health

Public health workers in the Americas and beyond are on alert, following evidence that Zika — a mosquito-borne virus that is spreading explosively across the region — may be linked to serious birth defects.

With Zika transmission reported in 23 countries and territories of the Americas as of early February, “the level of alarm is extremely high,” said World Health Organization Director-general Margaret Chan, MD, MPH. A committee convened by Chan officially declared Zika a public health emergency of international concern Feb. 1, indicating that the disease constitutes an international public health risk and requires a coordinated response.

“The level of concern is high, as is the level of uncertainty,” Chan said Jan. 28 in announcing the committee. “Questions abound. We need to get some answers quickly.”

The committee released recommendations for immediate action on Zika virus, calling for additional surveillance, diagnostics, reporting, vector control, risk communication and personal protective measures. In the long-term, the committee called for research on vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics.

Read this published-ahead-of-print story in full at The Nation’s Health.


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Family Planning & Maternal and Child Health

The purpose of the Family Planning & Maternal and Child Health Section are to support the exchange of ideas, the development of positions on MCH issues and further the dissemination of those positions, and contribute to the development, coordination and extension of MCH programs at the local, regional and state level.