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WHO Claims Zika Is No Longer a ‘Public Health Emergency’

After a flurry of warnings, hand-wringing and emergency budgeting to fight it, Zika is no longer a public health emergency, the World Health Organization (WHO) has now decided, according to Red Orbit, which noted that several experts are questioning WHO’s decision.

I imagine this is pretty disconcerting to high-ranking health officials, especially vaccine makers with Zika vaccines in the pipeline, although WHO did say that they still consider Zika something that “must be managed.” On the other hand, news reports noted that the expected rise of “thousands” of microcephaly cases in conjunction with Zika cases just haven’t happened.

This follows on the heels of Brazil announcing that Zika alone may not be responsible for the rise in birth defects that plagued parts of the country, after learning there were ZERO microcephaly cases among 12,000 pregnant women with confirmed Zika. As it turns out, most of the Brazilian women who gave birth to babies with microcephaly were poor and lived in small cities or on the outskirts of big cities — and near areas that use large amounts of banned pesticides.

It's also been suggested that microcephaly may be the result of Zika virus occurring alongside other infections, such as dengue and chikungunya.

In the U.S., Chris Barker, Ph.D., a mosquito-borne virus researcher at the University of California, Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, said the risk of Zika in the continental U.S. is “near zero,” even though there may be small clusters of Zika outbreaks in certain southern states.
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