Zika Virus as a Cause of Neurologic Disorders Demands Immediate Action to Protect Public Health

A new paper in the New England Journal of Medicine, "Zika Virus as a Cause of Neurologic Disorders," by Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and World Health Organization (WHO) experts, concludes that "Even with limited evidence linking Zika virus to neurologic disorders, the severe potential risks demand decisive, immediate action to protect public health."

The authors, including Maria Almiron, Sylvain Aldighieri, Marcos Espinal, and Christopher Dye, conclude, "The WHO recommends applying key interventions such as intensive mosquito control; personal protection against mosquito bites; provision of appropriate clinical care for all patients with Guillain–Barré syndrome and for women before, during, and after pregnancy; and prevention of Zika virus transmission through sexual contact or blood transfusion. Most of these are not new interventions, but they do need strengthening. Populations must be informed of the potential current and future risks of neurologic disorders, wherever the virus is being or could be locally transmitted and in other regions inhabited by the mosquito vectors. As the putative link between Zika virus and neurologic disorders is reinforced, refined, or even refuted, public health measures will be adjusted accordingly." To determine how currently available evidence about causality can guide the choice and implementation of interventions, WHO is developing a framework for the systematic appraisal of evidence about these causal relationships."

To read the NEJM article, CLICK HERE.