WHO declares Zika virus a global threat

Last week, the World Health Organisation (WHO) warned that the Zika virus was spreading explosively and yesterday the situation was declared a global threat due to the many infected.

The threat in the Nordic countries is minimal since the disease carrying mosquito does not exist in this region and the disease cannot be transmitted from human to human.

SOS International’s Medical Director Michael Fotopoulos elaborates: “The Zika virus has been linked - with a high probability - to a risk of malformations in newborn babies. The virus is endemic in South America. SOS International recommends that pregnant women and women avoid travelling in South America.”

Facts about the Zika virus

  • Zika virus cannot be transmitted from human to human. The only exception being sexually transmitted via mens sperm (up to 90 days)
  • Zika virus disease is caused by a virus transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes.
  • There is still no vaccine or cure for Zika virus.
  • People with Zika virus disease usually have a mild fever and skin rash. Others may also get conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, and feel tired. The symptoms usually finish in 2 to 7 days.


The best form of prevention is protection against mosquito bites:

  • Use insect repellent
  • Wearing clothes (preferably light-coloured) that cover as much of the body as possible;
  • Using physical barriers such as screens, closed doors and windows
  • Sleep under mosquito nets.
  • It is also important to empty, clean or cover containers that can hold even small amounts of water such as buckets, flower pots or tyres, so that places where mosquitoes can breed are removed.
  • The symptoms of Zika virus disease can be treated with common pain and fever medicines, rest and plenty of water. If symptoms worsen, people should seek medical advice.

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