Home featured WHO: Zika virus off West Africa coast came from Americas

WHO: Zika virus off West Africa coast came from Americas


DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — The Zika virus that is believed to have infected more than 7,500 people in an island nation off the western coast of Africa is the same strain spreading through the Americas, the World Health Organization said Friday.

And as a result, already three babies have developed microcephaly — the same devastating condition that has left babies in Brazil and elsewhere with undersized brains and skulls.

Zika’s emergence near Africa raises new concerns because many of the nearby countries on the continent have very poor health infrastructure as was laid bare by the Ebola epidemic that ravished Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.

“The findings are of concern because it is further proof that the outbreak is spreading beyond South America and is on the doorstep of Africa,” said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO regional director for Africa.

Cape Verde, which reported its first Zika case in October, is a former Portuguese colony like Brazil, where the mosquito-borne virus emerged last year before spreading to nearly 60 countries.

Most infected people suffer no symptoms but authorities in Brazil have seen a dramatic increase in severe brain-related birth defects in babies born to women infected with Zika during pregnancy. After studying evidence, health officials this year concluded Zika causes such birth defects.

One of the babies believed to have contracted Zika in Cape Verde was born at a hospital in Boston, officials said.

WHO said Friday that health officials in the region should start warning pregnant women to take precautions against mosquito bites. Zika can also be spread sexually, and WHO has said that pregnant women should abstain from sex or practice safe sex with anyone who has recently returned from areas with outbreaks.

Doctors also believe Zika also can cause a rare paralyzing condition called Guillain-Barre syndrome.


This article was written by Krista Larson from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.



Online Degrees & Certificates In Cybersecurity

American Military University's online cybersecurity programs integrate multiple disciplines to ensure you gain the critical skills and management practices needed to effectively lead cybersecurity missions – from government or private industry. Learn from the leader. American Military University is part of American Public University System, which has been designated by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education.

Request Information

Please complete this form and we’ll contact you with more information about AMU. All fields except phone are required.

Validation message here
Validation message here
Validation message here
Validation message here
Validation message here
Validation message here
Validation message here
Validation message here
Validation message here
Ready to apply? Start your application today.

We value your privacy.

By submitting this form, you agree to receive emails, texts, and phone calls and messages from American Public University System, Inc. which includes American Military University (AMU) and American Public University (APU), its affiliates, and representatives. I understand that this consent is not a condition of enrollment or purchase.

You may withdraw your consent at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy, terms, or contact us for more details.