Zika virus no longer global health emergency, but remains a threat

In Mahoning County, the board of health is still taking measures to prevent the spread of the Zika virus

mosquito zika virus

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The World Health Organization declared an end Friday afternoon to its global health emergency over the spread of the Zika virus, but officials say that doesn’t mean it’s any less important.

Since the WHO first declared a state of emergency in February, the Zika virus has spread to almost every country in the Western Hemisphere besides Canada. Thousands of babies suffered deformities as a result of the infection.

However, no longer calling this disease a health emergency hasn’t downgraded its importance.

Although mosquito season has ended in some areas of the world and transmission of the virus has slowed, it’s far from gone.

“The consequences of the disease are still out there. Basically, they’re saying that it’s going to be an endemic disease now. They have to go into long-term planning for how they’re going to respond to it,” said Susan Kovach, deputy director of the Community Health Division at the Mahoning County Board of Health.

Friday’s announcement emphasized that Zika is still a high priority. Now the organization will create a technical committee to handle Zika research, vaccine development and other efforts going forward.

“They are still going to have funding for it and lots of planning around it, but I think they realize this is just not going to go away,” Kovach said.

In Mahoning County, the board of health is taking the same approach.

“We are going to put out the mosquito trapping and a public information campaign, kind of like we did this year about making sure people aren’t leaving containers out in their backyards that can collect water, make sure they’re dumping everything,” Kovach said.

As for the type of mosquito that was thought to carry the virus locally, the health department says it never identified that mosquito in any of its traps.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also released a statement Friday on the Zika virus, saying that this move “does not change the need to continue efforts to combat the virus and its effects.”

WKBN 27 First News provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. No links will be permitted. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s