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World Health Organization recognizes Zika fever as global emergency for healthcare

As of today, the virus has penetrated 21 out of 55 countries of the Western Hemisphere

GENEVA, February 1. /TASS/. The World Health Organization believes that the current outbreak of Zika fever in the Western Hemisphere constitutes an emergency situation for global healthcare, Dr. Margaret Chang, the WHO Director General said here on Monday as she summed up a meeting of the WHO committee for emergency situations.

The Zika virus was first isolated in 1947 in the Zika Forest of Uganda. Last May, when the virus started rapidly spreading in Brazil and then spread to other countries of South and North America, it became a topic for wider discussion. As of today, the virus has penetrated 21 out of 55 countries of the Western Hemisphere.

The virus causes high temperature, pink eye, headaches and malaise, joint pains, sometimes nausea and stomach pains and upset. Zika is transmitted by mosquitoes and has been isolated in particular from Aedes aegypti. There also are data that the virus may be transmitted from human to human during unprotected sexual contacts. The special concern of specialists is caused by data that if a woman gets infected with the virus during pregnancy, the child may have microcephaly.

Outbreaks were registered in Asia, Africa, South and North Americas, and in the Pacific region. In the Western hemisphere, the disease spreads very quickly now - the virus has penetrated 21 of 55 countries, though last May the infected were registered in Brazil only.

Two cases were registered in Germany in December, 2015.