The fight against Zika virus will be long and complex, warned the head of the World Health Organization (WHO). Zika virus is a mosquito-transmitted infection linked to serious birth defects.
"The Zika virus is very tricky, very tenacious, very difficult. And so is the Aedes aegypti mosquito," WHO chief Margaret Chan yesterday said in the Brazilian capital Brasilia.
‘The cases of Zika transmissions have been reported in 28 countries and territories in the Americas and Caribbean, with 1.5 million in Brazil, the hardest-hit country. ’
"We have learnt lessons from dengue and chikungunya outbreaks in the past, so we should expect to see more cases, we should expect this is going to be a long journey."
Brazil is at the center of a Zika outbreak, and the virus is strongly suspected of causing a spike in microcephaly, a congenital condition that causes abnormally small heads and hampers brain development.
Countries throughout the region have launched massive operations to eliminate pools of stagnant water where the mosquitoes, which also spread dengue and chikungunya viruses, can breed. There is currently no cure or vaccine for the Zika virus.
The WHO had previously warned that the virus's spread could be "explosive," infecting up to four million people.