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Zika virus may spread to Europe this summer

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Kellie Davenport
May 18, 2016 04:07
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The baby's mother was diagnosed with the Zika virus during pregnancy

The Zika virus, which has mainly affected areas of central and South America, may spread to Europe this summer, the World Health Organisation WHO has warned.

"We call particularly on countries at higher risk to strengthen their national capacities and prioritise the activities that will prevent a large Zika outbreak."

The assessment took into consideration two factors: the likelihood of the virus spreading and the "existing national capacity to prevent or contain local transmission".

Countries and areas at highest risk included Russia, Georgia and the Portuguese island of Madeira.

WHO recommended a number of preventative measures to countries at high risk, including strengthening activities to prevent the spread of mosquitos, equipping health professionals to detect transmission of Zika and to ensure that communities "reduce mosquito breeding sites".

"We stand ready to support European countries on the ground in case of Zika outbreaks," said Nedret Emiroglu, Director of the Communicable Diseases and Health Security Division, WHO Regional Office for Europe.

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Kellie Davenport
May 18, 2016 04:07
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