WHO declares Zika Virus a global health emergency as Nigeria advises travel restriction

WHO Press briefing on Zika Virus... Picture: Courtesy WHO images
WHO Press briefing on Zika Virus... Picture: Courtesy WHO images

The World Health Organization on Monday declared Zika Virus a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

WHO also said protective measures against mosquito bites remain the most important preventive measure against the virus.

Margaret Chan, the WHO Director General, said at a press briefing in Geneva, Monday, that‎ a coordinated international response is needed to intensify the control of mosquito and expedite development of diagnostic tests.

“I convened the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee to gather advice on the severity of the health threat associated with Zika ‎virus,” said Dr. Chan.

“The experts agreed that a causal relationship between Zika during pregnancy and microcephaly is strongly suspected.

“The causal relationship between Zika during pregnancy and microcephaly is not yet scientifically proven.

“The Committee found to public health justification for restrictions on travel or trade to prevent the spread of Zika virus.

“At present, the most important protective measures against Zika virus are the control of mosquito populations, prevention of mosquito bites in at-risk individuals, especially pregnant women.”

Dr. Chan, however, advised pregnant women to consider delaying travel to Zika virus-affected areas as well as protect themselves with safe mosquito repellant or long clothing.

The WHO’s position came a day after the Nigerian government advised a travel restriction of its pregnant citizens to Latin America, the worst hit region since the Zika virus outbreak began late last year.

Isaac Adewole, Nigeria’s Health Minister, ‎said the restriction would remain in place until “the situation improves.”

Zika virus is transmitted via the bite of Aedes mosquitoes.

The viral infection has been linked with babies born with underdeveloped brains.

‎There is currently no vaccine or drug to stop its spread.

Dr.‎ Chan said that lack of vaccination; rapid, reliable diagnostic tests; and absence of population immunity in newly affected countries are causes for concern.

“The (convened) experts also considered patterns of recent spread, the broad geo distribution of mosquito species that can transmit Zika virus,” she said.

“The Committee advised that the association between Zika virus and microcephaly constitutes an ‘extraordinary event.”

Outbreak in the Americas

According to updates published on the WHO website, Brazil reported its first case of Zika virus disease in May 2015.

“Since then, the disease has spread within Brazil and to 22 other countries and territories in the region,” the world health body said.

“Arrival of the virus in some countries of the Americas, notably Brazil, has been associated with a steep increase in the birth of babies with abnormally small heads and in cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome, a poorly understood condition in which the immune system attacks the nervous system, sometimes resulting in paralysis.”


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  • Omoba1

    These pharmaceutical companies have started again. You will never hear fungi or bacteria, only viruses because viruses are easily to develop in a lab. They are only interested in money

    • Fred Duke

      I agree completely. These guys are the ones manufacturing these viruses just to keep the grants pouring in. Quite pathetic.

  • Gwazy

    I wonder what the outcome of the decision would’ve been had it been prevalent in Africa!

  • Fred Duke

    ThEse strange viruses are all manufactured in the research labs of these pharmaceutical companies So that they can obtain grants and research for new drugs and as well sell their drugs. enough of these funny stories. they had researched everything about mosquitoes long before I was b orn. how come this is coming up now. The West should stop all these pranks because lives are involved. how come it is only viral diseases that they can “discover” these days? The West are deceiving the whole world because they don’t want too shutdown their research labs. They need grants to keep their facilities active and so, they’re manufacturing virises which they later turn around to ask for grants to enable them develop drugs to fight. It is not fair.



    The National Assembly must address the threatening issue of BUHARI’S INCOMPETENCE without delay or Nigeria will sink!


    Sambo Dasuki (rtd) has given his side of the story on the arms procurement saga which has pitted him against the incumbent federal government led by President Muhammadu Buhari.

    In a statement on Wednesday, Dasuki insisted he was never invited to appear before an Investigative Panel on the Procurement of hardware and munitions in the armed forces.

    The full statement reads: “In a theatrical manner, the Presidency fed the public with many allegations against my person and yet to be named former public officers.

    “To draw sympathy, the presidency quoted some absurd findings including extra-budgetary interventions; award of fictitious contracts; 53 failed contracts; payment for jobs without contractual agreements; non-execution of contracts for the purchase of 4 Alpha jets, bombs and ammunition.

    “For undiscerning Nigerians, they may tend to assume that the allegations were true and pronounce the former National Security Adviser guilty as charged.

    “The statement issued by the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, who should know better as a former President of the Nigerian Guild of Editors and a witness to history, was nothing sort of propaganda to cast aspersions on Dasuki.

    “To set the records straight, Nigerians should appreciate that the AVM Jon Ode-led panel did not invite the ex-NSA under any guise before arriving at its ambiguous findings. At least, fairness demands that the panel ought to hear from Dasuki instead of its recourse to hasty conclusions. If the panel had been more patient and painstaking, it would have been availed of all relevant documents on some of the jaundiced findings.

    “As if acting a script, the Presidency alleged that the Panel accused Dasuki of awarding fictitious contracts between March 2012 and March 2015. Contrary to this claim, Dasuki was not the NSA in March 2012 and he could not have awarded any contract in whatever name. The ex-NSA was appointed by ex-President Goodluck Jonathan on June 22, 2012.

    “All contracts and accruing payments were with the approval of the President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces. Once the ex-President approved, the former NSA paid. So, there was due process for every purchase in line with regulations guiding arms procurement for the Armed Forces.

    “And Nigerians should note that all the services generated the types of equipment needed, sourced for suppliers most times and after consideration by the Office of the NSA, the President will approve application for payment. For sensitive sectors (military/security), there was no room for awarding fictitious contracts. The conclusions of the panel were presumptive, baseless and lacked diligence.

    “There were no fictitious contracts; contract sums were not diverted and the relevant services in writing acknowledged delivery of equipment. For all procurements, the Nigerian Army, the Air Force and the Nigerian Navy have their contractors.

    “While awaiting judicial process on these allegations, it is proper to make some references to show that the presidency was just desperate to hang some former public and military officers who served this nation at the risk of their lives.

    “It is laughable for the panel to assume that 4 Alpha jets and 12 helicopters were undelivered. In a memo to the Office of the National Security Adviser(ONSA), referenced NAF/905/D/CAS of November 28, 2014, the immediate past Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Adesola Amosu acknowledged the receipt of the 4x Alpha jets attack aircraft and the helicopters.

    “On 10/21/14, the Chief of Air Staff also confirmed the receipt of F-7 N1 aircraft combination of 250kg bombs and accessories at $2,894,000 with the cost of freight at $1,200,000. The same Air Force confirmed getting 2xTri Shield 36DG Tactical radars

    “In another letter of December 1, 2014 signed by L.S. Alao(on behalf of the Chief of Air Staff), the Air Force said it received five containerized fuel storage and dispensing units with equipment.

    “The Nigerian Army wrote the ONSA to acknowledge the delivery of 14 armoured tanks. In a December 13, 2014 memo, the Brigade of Guards thanked ONSA for releasing N30m for RCA, Operation allowance for Troops on Op Urban Sweep II for third and fourth quarters of 2014. This is apart from the installation of CCT Cameras at the Brigade Headquarters, 2 backscatter bomb detection vans and other equipment.

    “On November 26, 2014, the immediate past Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh sought for approval of the award of one pair of uniform(in the interim) for the Armed Forces at N165, 375 to El-Jahab Mubarak Nigeria and N330,750,000 for two pairs.

    These are some of the acknowledgement letters submitted to me by the end-users(the services). It is not for me to go and find out whether the equipment were delivered or not. I am not the one keeping the inventories.

    “To show that I have nothing to hide, I submitted a comprehensive list of all requests for procurements by the services, the items bought and those equipment being awaited to His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari long before I left office. If there were issues, I should have been questioned. I was just the clearing house, I did not award contracts to my company or proxies. There was no contract awarded or equipment bought without approval from the then President and Commander-In-Chief. I am not a thief or treasury looter as being portrayed.

    “In order not to endanger the nation’s security, there are many salient issues and contracts which I cannot put in public domain. I am ready for trial on all these allegations in order to prove to Nigerians that I did nothing untoward in office. We will certainly meet in court.

    I have a lot to tell Nigerians but in the interim, they should not believe some of the allegations as the gospel truths. The good thing is that some of the key actors in the present administration were parts of the past process being viciously challenged.

    “As for my tenure as the nation’s NSA, I acted in the interest of the nation and with utmost fear of God. I did not use the office for any self-serving agenda. I occupied the Office of the National Security Adviser at a difficult moment in Nigerian history when terrorism was at its peak and I am leaving posterity to judge me accordingly.”………………………