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WHO Director Calls For Additional Funding For Zika; Virus Now ‘Implicated’ In Causing Neurological Complications

News outlets report on a WHO update on the Zika situation.

The Guardian: WHO: Zika virus ‘implicated’ in large numbers of brain-damaged babies
“Zika virus is now ‘implicated’ in the large numbers of brain-damaged babies in Brazil and the increase in the nerve disorder Guillain-Barré syndrome, according to experts at the World Health Organization, who say urgent action is needed to deal with a growing crisis…” (Boseley, 3/22).

New York Times: Birth Defects Tied to Zika in Panama
“Panama has reported its first case of birth defects associated with the Zika virus, the World Health Organization said on Tuesday — new evidence of the epidemic’s potentially dangerous effects spreading throughout the region…” (Tavernise, 3/22).

Reuters: WHO begs for $4 million to prepare for millions of Zika cases
“The World Health Organization is still waiting for its members to stump up another $4 million to tackle the growing threat from the Zika virus, WHO chief Margaret Chan said on Tuesday. … The WHO and its American arm PAHO have asked for $25 million to fight Zika and have received $3 million, and are now in an ‘active discussion’ over the next $4 million, said Chan, who called the funding situation ‘pretty serious’…” (Miles, 3/22).

U.N. News Centre: Zika: ‘the more we know the worse things look,’ U.N. health agency chief reports
“The head of the United Nations health agency [Tuesday] reported that in less than a year, the status of Zika has changed from ‘a mild medical curiosity’ to a disease with severe public health implications, warning that ‘the more we know the worse things look.’ … ‘The virus is currently circulating in 38 countries and territories,’ she told reporters…” (3/22).

USA TODAY: Funding for Zika hasn’t materialized, WHO says
“The World Health Organization has received only $3 million of the $56 million needed from its member countries to fight the Zika virus, officials said Tuesday. The WHO has asked for $25 million for its own efforts to fight Zika during the first six months of the year. Those efforts include sending staff to countries grappling with the disease and organizing scientific meetings, said Margaret Chan, the WHO’s director general. The other $31 million would go to other groups, including nonprofits…” (Szabo, 3/22).

VOA News: Proof of Zika’s Link to Neurological Disorders Grows
“… ‘Though the association is not yet scientifically proven, [a high-level] meeting concluded that there is now scientific consensus that Zika virus is implicated in these neurological disorders,’ she said. ‘The kind of urgent action called for by this public health emergency should not wait for definitive proof’…” (Schlein, 3/22).

Washington Post: Zika: More than 2,500 babies born with microcephaly in Brazil, WHO predicts
“The World Health Organization said Tuesday that it expects Brazil will have more than 2,500 babies born with a severe birth defect known as microcephaly if current trends continue in the Zika virus outbreak…” (Sun, 3/22).

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