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$122 million needed Zika virus prevention: WHO

The prevention plan highlights requirement of collaborative and global response

Policy Pulse
Publish Date: Jun 18 2016 3:16PM | Updated Date: Jun 18 2016 3:16PM

$122 million needed Zika virus prevention: WHO

 About $122 million is needed to prevent and manage the medical complications of the Zika virus which is spreading throughout America and causing birth defects in babies. The cost was estimated by the World Health Organization.


Specific focus is needed on supporting women and girls of child-bearing age, the UN health agency said as it set out a revised joint strategy with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) for how to handle the mosquito-borne virus.


Zika has caused alarm throughout the Americas since cases of the birth defect microcephaly were reported in Brazil, the country hardest hit by the outbreak.


The rare birth defect is marked by unusually small head size and potentially severe developmental problems. Brazilian authorities have confirmed more than 1,400 cases of microcephaly in babies whose mothers were exposed to Zika during pregnancy.


U.S. health officials reported recently that three babies there have been born with birth defects linked to likely Zika virus infection in their mothers in pregnancy, along with three cases of lost pregnancies linked to Zika.


WHO director-general Margaret Chan said much had been learned about Zika, how it spreads, the consequences of infection and how to control it since global health authorities set out their initial response plans earlier this year.


"The response now requires a unique and integrated strategy that places support for women and girls of child-bearing age at its core," she said in a statement. The plan highlights several aspects of the Zika outbreak "that require a collaborative, global response," the WHO said.