Posted by The Guardian on Thursday, October 15, 2019 18:02:33The latest Zika virus outbreak in Africa is threatening to derail efforts to contain the virus, with many countries seeing their populations rise.
In the Horn of Africa, more than 10 million people have already been infected, with more than 1.2 million of those deaths, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said.
The outbreak in Burkina Faso, which is a key gateway for the virus to spread, has spread to a third of the country’s territory, bringing the death toll to around 5,000.
More than 2,600 new cases have been reported in the Sahel, the Saor de Guinea and the Saou, with at least 600 deaths.
Elsewhere, Nigeria has recorded more than 500 new cases and 473 deaths, while the Gambia reported at least 1,300 new cases, 2,500 deaths and 814 cases.
The WHO is calling for all countries to work together to stem the spread, with its co-ordinator, Dr Andrew White, describing the situation as “very serious”.
“The risk is increasing with each passing day and we are very concerned,” White said.
“The virus will spread even further and it will affect the health of the entire continent.”
The World Health Organisation (WHO), which is working closely with the governments of Africa and neighbouring countries, is encouraging countries to put in place measures to help prevent and control the spread.
The group is also encouraging those who are at risk to come forward.
“We are in constant contact with partners and partners are working to support the affected regions,” a WHO spokesperson said.WHO has launched a new global network called the ZIKV Response.
This new network is aimed at mobilising the WHO response and providing the most up-to-date information about the virus.
The new network has received more than 2.5 million responses so far, the spokesperson added.WHO says the virus is spreading quickly across the world.
“Zika is currently the most widely reported and the most severe microbe-borne illness in history, with an estimated 3.8 million new cases globally since its first confirmed case in the Americas in August,” it said.
In an effort to prevent the spread to other countries, WHO says that people living in remote areas are especially at risk.
“People in remote locations are at increased risk of becoming infected with the virus,” the spokesperson said, adding that people with special needs and children and women should be closely monitored.