WHO officials on Friday cautioned that “many thousands” of infants infected with Zika virus could suffer neurological abnormalities and said nations dealing with an outbreak need to watch for problems beyond the widely reported cases of microcephaly.
These include spasticity, seizures, irritability, feeding difficulties, eyesight problems and evidence of severe brain abnormalities.
Health officials had previously concluded that Zika infection in pregnant women was a cause of microcephaly in babies, a rare birth defect characterized by unusually small heads and potentially severe developmental problems. They now believe the range of potential neurological problems in infants could be much wider.
In an editorial published in a WHO bulletin, experts said 37 countries and territories in the Americas are now dealing with Zika, which is mainly spread by mosquitoes, as well as unprotected sex with an infected man.
In Brazil, the country hardest hit so far, authorities have confirmed more than 1,400 cases of microcephaly believed to be linked to the virus.
“With such spread, it is possible that many thousands of infants will incur moderate to severe neurological disabilities,” the editorial said.
“Existing evidence and unpublished data shared with WHO highlight the wider range of congenital abnormalities probably associated with the acquisition of Zika virus infection in utero,” the editorial said.
The organization called for routine surveillance systems and research efforts to be expanded to include a larger population than simply children with microcephaly.
US officials are girding for local outbreaks, especially in southern states such as Florida and Texas, as summer mosquito season gets under way.
The onset of summer has sparked a rise in incidents of “mask rage” in South Korea as more hot and bothered commuters either refuse to wear face coverings or leave parts of their faces exposed. In South Korea, Japan and other countries in East Asia, widespread mask wearing has been cited as one possible explanation for the region’s relative success in bringing the COVID-19 pandemic under control. South Korea, one of the first countries outside China to be affected by the virus, flattened the coronavirus curve in April, although it is now struggling with dozens of daily cases, mainly in and around
‘WOULD NOT COMPLY’: The company’s user data are kept in Singapore and it would not turn the data over to Beijing even if asked, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer said Social media app TikTok has distanced itself from Beijing after India banned 59 Chinese apps in the country, according to a correspondence seen by Reuters. In a letter to the Indian government dated on Sunday last week and seen by Reuters on Friday, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer said the Chinese government has never requested user data, nor would the company turn it over if asked. TikTok, which is not available in China, is owned by China’s ByteDance, but has sought to distance itself from its Chinese roots to appeal to a global audience. Along with 58 other Chinese apps, including Tencent
PLAYING THE VICTIM? A Chinese spokesman sent a statement to Australian media saying that Beijing had ‘irrefutable’ evidence of Canberra’s widescale espionage Australia yesterday unveiled the “largest-ever” boost in cybersecurity spending, days after Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison spoke out about a wave of state-sponsored attacks suspected to have been carried out by China. Morrison and government officials said the country would spend an additional A$1.35 billion (US$928 million) on cybersecurity, about a 10 percent hike, taking the budget for the next decade to A$15 billion. The largest chunk of the new money would help create 500 jobs within the Australian Signals Directorate, the government’s communications intelligence agency. Morrison on June 19 said that a “state-based actor” was targeting a host of
The Philippine army chief yesterday expressed outrage over the fatal police shooting of four soldiers, including two officers, and demanded justice, as both sides provided contrasting accounts of the killings. Philippine Secretary of the Interior and Local Government Eduardo Ano, a retired military chief of staff who now oversees the national police, ordered that the police involved in Monday’s violence in Jolo in Sulu Province be disarmed and restricted for investigation. Police said the soldiers were killed in a “misencounter” with a group of police officers. The army said that the two officers and two enlisted men were on a mission against