Emerging and re-emerging epidemic diseases pose an on-going threat to global health security.
The WHO's Twelfth General Programme of Work sets the reduction of "mortality, morbidity and societal disruption resulting from epidemics... through prevention, preparedness, response and recovery activities" as one its five strategic imperatives.
Zika is a virus spread to humans by Aedes mosquitoes - the same mosquitoes that spread dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever. It usually causes mild illness, with most people sick with the virus getting a slight fever and skin rash. Others may also get conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, and feel tired. The symptoms usually finish in 2 to 7 days. The best protection from Zika virus is preventing mosquito bites.
The Department of Pandemic and Epidemic Diseases (PED) develops strategies, initiatives, and mechanisms to address priority emerging and re-emerging epidemic diseases, thereby reducing their impact on affected populations and limiting their international spread.