Zika virus is considered an emerging infectious disease with the potential to spread to new areas where the Aedes mosquito vector is present. Since the start of Zika epidemic this year, till date there are more than 44 countries with active Zika virus transmission. The virus can also be transmitted by substances of human origin from donors after clinical recovery from Zika virus disease due to possible prolonged viraemia or a persistence of the virus in semen after viraemia has cleared. Zika virus infection has been associated with neurological anomalies especially Guillain- Barré syndrome which has symptoms like weakness of the arms and legs that is usually the same on both sides of the body. Recently after careful review of the existing evidence the scientists at CDC concluded that Zika virus causes Microcephaly a condition in which the size of baby’s brain and head is smaller than the normally expected. Apart from that there may be other severe brain defects in the new born baby. Till date there are no FDA approved vaccines or treatments for Zika at this time and recently FDA approved the Focus Diagnostics, Inc.’s Zika Virus RNA Qualitative Real-Time TR-PCR test for detection in emergencies. The World Health Organization has forecast that the smaller Caribbean economies would be losing anywhere from 1 to 2 percent of their GDP to the Zika virus in the coming months. The World Bank estimates figures that Zika has already cost the region a total of $3.5 billion USD or approximately 0.06 percent of the GDP of the Latin American and the Caribbean region. For planning more effective disease control and prevention activities for Zika fever there is great need for a functional and intensified Public Health Surveillance system Preparedness for the prevention and control of Zika virus infection will require capacities and capabilities for early detection, response and communication.


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