Zika Virus has Become Global Health Emergency

The World Health Organization has declared the Zika virus to be a global health emergency. The virus has now been confirmed in over 280 people in Thailand. It has been detected in Puerto Rico, where two people have died due to Zika-related conditions, and has reached the mainland U.S., where a man who died in Salt Lake City was the first confirmed death in the continental United States. More than 47 countries have experienced their first outbreak of the Zika virus since 2015.

Up to 2 billion people are at risk of contracting the Zika virus, according to a study published in the scientific journal The Lancet Infectious Diseases. The study points to mass air travel as a major factor and noted that risk is particularly elevated during holiday seasons.

Limited access to healthcare, proper infrastructure, and high rates of poverty are all key factors in the spread of the disease. Due to this, India, Indonesia, and Nigeria are the most vulnerable, according to the study, due to high levels of travel. Philippines, Vietnam, Pakistan, and Bangladesh are also at high risk due to poverty and infrastructure conditions.

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