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Zika virus

The situation

8 February 2016

Global public health emergency declared in 23 countries across the Americas.

Around 4,000 cases have been reported since October.

The Zika virus has been linked to microcephaly in babies, a condition where babies are born with abnormally small heads. 

We’re responding

Our partner Movement of People affected by Dams (MAB) is on the ground and ready to respond to the outbreak in Brazil.

MAB will launch a series of awareness-raising campaigns across several states, educating communities about how the virus is spread and working alongside them to prevent the spread of the virus and mitigate its impact.

Alongside the Brazilian government's increased production and distribution of insect repellent, our partners aim to reach 7,708 families with these workshops.

More about the virus

The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimate that up to four million people could be infected by the end of the year and with no clear vaccine or medication to stop Zika, it only looks set to spread further.

The Zika virus is transmitted by the Aedes mosquito, which is active during the day and night, and is the same type of mosquito that spreads dengue, yellow fever and Chinkungunya viruses.

Symptoms from the virus are mild; however concern has grown around a strongly suspected link between the Zika virus in pregnant women and microcephaly in their babies. Microcephaly is a rare condition which affects a baby’s brain development in the womb and leaves them with abnormally small heads.

Though a link has not yet been proven, local health authorities in Brazil have observed an alarming increase in cases of microcephaly at the same time as the outbreak of the virus.

Around 4,000 cases have been reported in Brazil since October.

The last time a global public health emergency was announced was following the outbreak of the Ebola virus.

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