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Zika’s Spread In Americas ‘Alarming,’ WHO DG Chan Says, Calls Emergency Meeting On Issue

News outlets report on comments by WHO Director-General Margaret Chan regarding the Zika virus’s spread throughout the Americas and an upcoming WHO emergency meeting on the issue.

New York Times: Zika Virus ‘Spreading Explosively’ in Americas, WHO Says
“The World Health Organization rang a global alarm over the Zika virus on Thursday, saying that the disease was ‘spreading explosively’ in the Americas and that as many as four million people could be infected by the end of the year…” (Tavernise, 1/28).

NPR: WHO Warns Of Zika Virus’s ‘Alarming’ And ‘Explosive’ Spread
“In her first major address on the Zika outbreak, the head of the World Health Organization, Dr. Margaret Chan, said the mosquito-borne virus has gone from being ‘a mild threat to one of alarming proportions’…” (Beaubien, 1/28).

Reuters: WHO says Zika virus spreads explosively, four million cases forecast
“The Zika virus, linked to severe birth defects in thousands of babies in Brazil, is ‘spreading explosively’ and could infect as many as four million people in the Americas, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday…” (Miles/Nebehay, 1/29).

U.N. News Centre: U.N. health agency convenes emergency meeting to address ‘dramatic’ spread of Zika virus
“…Dr. Chan noted that there is a high level of uncertainty. ‘Questions abound,’ she said. ‘We need to get some answers quickly. I am asking the Committee for advice on the appropriate level of international concern and for recommended measures that should be undertaken in affected countries and elsewhere. I will also ask the Committee to prioritize areas where research is most urgently needed’…” (1/28).

Washington Post: WHO: Zika virus ‘spreading explosively,’ level of alarm ‘extremely high’
“…The WHO said the pathogen, which was virtually unheard of in the region a year ago, is spreading so fast that it could infect as many as three million to four million people within 12 months…” (Cha/Sun, 1/28).

Wall Street Journal: Zika Virus Is Spreading ‘Explosively,’ WHO Chief Says
“…WHO’s announcement underscores the speed with which a virus that began as an obscure tropical malady afflicting Africa and then several remote Western Pacific islands has transformed into a major international health concern, particularly in the Americas…” (Johnson et al., 1/28).