World Responds to Zika Virus Outbreak in the Americas
With the World Health Organization’s official declaration of Zika virus as a “public health emergency of international concern” earlier this week, international agencies have started stepping up activities to support national governments as they respond to the challenges posed by the rapidly spreading Zika virus in the Americas (UN News, PDC). Of most concern is the suspected relationship between Zika virus infections and an observed increase in microcephaly in newborns and neurological disorders (CDC).
Transmitted by the same mosquitoes that spread the Chikungunya virus and Dengue fever, Zika virus has spread from 9 countries (reported in December) to 25 across the Americas (as of February 2) (ReliefWeb, UN News).
In response to the ‘unprecedented’ number of cases in the Americas, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has initiated an emergency appeal for funding to support regional activities that promote training and community engagement; while the United Nations Children’s Fund is working with national governments and partners to spread prevention messages to communities in Brazil (ReliefWeb/IFRC, UNICEF).
Zika virus was first identified in Uganda in 1947, and outbreaks have been recorded in Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific (WHO).
PDC continues to closely monitor and provide decision support products and capabilities in response to the ongoing Zika virus outbreak in the Americas. If you are an emergency manager or public health professional and would like access to PDC’s DisasterAWARE (EMOPS) platform, click here for more information.
RVA Profile: The Americas
With Zika virus detected in 25 countries across the Americas, this week’s RVA profile will take a look at the Health Care Capacity in the region. Health Care Capacity represents the relative availability of human and physical resources within a country to manage health-related events.
To access additional reference maps and information regarding the Zika virus response, click here.
This Week in Hazards:
- Throughout the week, Peru and Paraguay have experienced severe weather. As of February 2, heavy rainfall and strong winds caused damage in the San Martín region of northern Peru, displacing 35 families in the province of El Dorado. In Paraguay’s Ñeembucú department, heavy rainfall led to flooding and river overflows affecting the city of Pilar. It is estimated that since December, at least 100,000 people in Paraguay have been displaced due to river overflows. (ECHO)
- As reported by NOAA, dry weather is taking hold across Micronesia, with drought conditions already affecting the Mariana Islands, the Republic of Palau, Yap and Chuuk States, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands (NOAA). Assessment teams have been dispatched to parts of the Marshall Islands to verify reports and identify needs—verification of water shortages in Yap and Chuuk States are also underway (ReliefWeb/UN OCHA).
Current Hazard Warnings
Flood: Australia (Queensland, New South Wales), Indonesia, Peru, Bolivia, Scotland, England, United States (Texas, South Carolina, Georgia), Tanzania, Mozambique, Madagascar, Paraguay
High Wind: Germany
Winter Storm: Canada (Yukon)
Avalanche: United States (Alaska)
Drought: Micronesia, Bolivia, Puerto Rico, United States (Western), Africa (Southern), Colombia, Thailand
Wildfire: Colombia, Chile
Biomedical: West Africa
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