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Editorials

Time for global action on Zika virus epidemic

BMJ 2016; 352 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i781 (Published 08 February 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;352:i781
  1. Daniel R Lucey, adjunct professor of medicine
  1. 1Department of Medicine, Infectious Diseases, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, DC, USA
  1. DRL23{at}Georgetown.edu

Our response to infectious disease epidemics must be faster and smarter

After criticism that the World Health Organization responded slowly in 2014 to Ebola virus disease, and now to the epidemic of Zika virus disease,1 on 1 February 2016 WHO’s director general, Margaret Chan, convened a meeting of the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee. After the meeting she declared Zika a public health emergency of international concern, because of the possible association with growing clusters of microcephaly and other neurological disorders in French Polynesia and Brazil. In less than a year this virus has spread to over 25 nations in the Americas, the Pacific islands, and Cape Verde in west Africa.

Faced with rapidly evolving concern among travelers, the public (particularly pregnant women and their partners), and the media, what are healthcare providers to do? Fortunately, they can provide accurate answers from several reliable sources, including Public Health England,2 the Pan American Health Organization,3 the US Centers …

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