February 19, 2016 11:30 am
The Zika virus has been in the news frequently during the last couple of months, and especially in Latin America and in the Caribbean the outbreak is growing. At EU level, the Early Warning and Response System for medical emergencies have already been activated and therefore we have chosen Zika virus to be the IATE term of the week.
The virus is transmitted by the Aedes mosquitoes and the symptoms are fever, skin rashes, muscle and joint pain. The virus itself mostly causes mild illness, but it is particularly dangerous for pregnant women. It is suspected to cause serious birth defects, like microcephaly, a condition where infants are born with abnormally small heads and other development problems. Therefore, according to The Guardian, the WHO has declared the Zika virus as a public health emergency.
Until now, no specific treatment or vaccine is available and therefore the only form of prevention consists of protection against mosquito bites in general. The BBC has reported that Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has declared war on mosquitos that spread the virus. In Colombia the Zika virus has raised the question about abortion, according to The New York Times.
Only in rare cases a legal abortion is an option in Colombia, like in the case of rape, or when the health of the child or the mother is at risk. Pregnant women in Colombia who are suspected being infected with the virus are now allowed the choice to carry out the pregnancy or to end it, in case the ultrasound shows the foetus is deformed. But The New York Times also reports that Catholic leaders in the Americas say that Zika doesn’t change the ban on contraception, even though the WHO advises that women should have full access to all kinds of birth control, including safe and legal abortions.
Related EU terminology sources:
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2016. Zika virus. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/zika/. [Accessed 16 February 16].
- European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control . 2016. Zika virus infection. [ONLINE] Available at: http://ecdc.europa.eu/en/healthtopics/zika_virus_infection/Pages/index.aspx. [Accessed 16 February 16].
- World Health Organization. 2016. Zika virus . [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/zika/en/. [Accessed 16 February 16].
- The Guardian. 2016. World Health Organisation declares Zika virus public health emergency. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/feb/01/zika-virus-world-health-organisation-declares-global-health-emergency. [Accessed 15 February 16].
- BBC News. 2016. Brazil Zika virus: ‘War’ declared on deadly mosquitoes. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-35489388. [Accessed 15 February 16].
- The New York Times. 2016. Zika Virus in Colombia Presents Complicated Choice About Abortion. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/16/world/americas/zika-virus-in-colombia-presents-complicated-choice-about-abortion.html. [Accessed 15 February 16].
- The New York Times. 2016. Catholic Leaders Say Zika Doesn’t Change Ban on Contraception. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/14/world/americas/catholic-leaders-say-zika-doesnt-change-ban-on-contraception.html?rref=collection%2Fnewseventcollection%2FZika%20Virus&action=click&contentCollection=Americas&module=Collection®ion=Marginalia&src=me&version=newsevent&pgtype=article. [Accessed 15 February 16].
Written by Corine Klip
Study visitor at TermCoord
Former data analyst at Morningstar
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