Zika virus outbreak global response
WHO/PAHO and partners have set out their strategic response to Zika which will place a greater focus on preventing and managing medical complications caused by Zika virus infection. To date, US$121.9 million are necessary to effectively implement the Zika Strategic Response Plan, July 2016 to December 2017.
The revised Zika Strategic Response Plan includes a greater focus on preventing and managing medical complications caused by Zika virus infection and expanding health systems’ capacities for that purpose. Risk communication targeting pregnant women, their partners, households and communities will be central to prevention efforts to ensure they have the information they need to protect themselves.
“Much has been learned about Zika virus infection...the response now requires a unique and integrated strategy that places support for women and girls of child-bearing age at its core.”
Dr Margaret Chan
Other elements include integrated vector management, sexual and reproductive health counselling as well as health education and care within the social and legal contexts of each country where Zika virus is being transmitted.
The plan highlights several specific characteristics of the Zika outbreak that require a collaborative, global response and support. These include:
- the potential for further international spread of Zika virus given the wide distribution of Aedes mosquitoes that are capable of transmitting Zika virus,
- the lack of population immunity in areas where Zika virus is circulating for the first time and which allows the disease to spread quickly,
- the absence of vaccines, specific treatments and rapid diagnostic tests, and
- inequalities in access to sanitation, information and health services in affected areas.