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Zika can not beat Brazil: WHO Chief
February 24, 2016, 5:40 am

World Health Organization (WHO) Director General Margaret Chan [Image:]

World Health Organization (WHO) Director General Margaret Chan [Image:]

The World Health Organization (WHO) chief, Margaret Chan, has voiced support for Brazilian efforts to tackle the outbreak of the Zika virus and to keep the Olympic Games safe for athletes and visitors.

Chan met Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff on Tuesday.

Rousseff said Chan is in Brazil to “deepen our dialogue to combat Aedes”.

“Chan praised the seriousness and transparency with which Brazil is treating the epidemic of Zika,” Rousseff tweeted.

Chan said Brazil has been very transparent in sharing information on the virus with the rest of the world, and taking a leadership role in collaborating with other countries in the research and development of diagnostic tools and a vaccine.

“I want to reassure you that the government is working very closely with the international Olympic movement, with the local organizing committee, supported by the WHO, to make sure we have a very good work plan to target the mosquito, and to make sure that people who will come here either as visitors or athletes will get the maximum protection they need,” Chan said.

“I am confident the government can do it,” she added.

Brazil is worst hit in the current Zika outbreak, which has spread to more than 30 countries and territories, most of them in the Americas.

The World Health Organization declared a global emergency over Zika this month, citing concerns that it may be linked to a birth defect called microcephaly, a condition marked by unusually small heads that can result in developmental problems.

In Brazil, WHO Chief Chan also met officials at the National Center for Risk and Disaster Management.

The WHO official also praised President Rousseff’s leadership in mobilizing Brazilians in a campaign to eradicate the mosquito’s breeding places.

“The Zika virus is very tricky. We should expect to see more cases. We should expect this to be a long journey, but the government commitment led by President Rousseff is commendable,” she said. “Based on what I have seen here, I can tell you: the mosquito is difficult, but it cannot beat Brazil,” Chan said.

More than 4,000 reported cases of microcephaly have been registered in Brazil, among which more than 400 have been confirmed. Of the confirmed cases, 141 were attributable to the Zika virus.

Much remains unknown about Zika, including whether the virus actually causes microcephaly.


TBP and Agencies