World Health Organization
United States


Asti Shafira

Cite as

Position Paper of United States in the World Health Organization Committee

Topic : The Rise of Zika Virus

"I’ve made it clear that we want to put a full-court press. I’m saying, ‘Folks, this is it, all hands on deck for Zika, this is really important.’ We are rapidly pushing.”—Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Zika virus and its complications such as microcephaly and Guillain-Barré syndrome, the current emerging infectious disease constitutes a clear and persistent threat to the public health with long-term consequences for families, communities and countries. Since its introduction in Brazil in 2015, Zika virus (ZIKV) has begun to spread worldwide. Several challenges regarding unsolved ZIKV problem recognized. Firstly, the unique challenges of the Zika virus outbreak that is unfolding promise valuable teachings that cross interdisciplinary boundaries. Thus the other specific challenge is to set up a research network across the region to facilitate, coordinate and implement urgent research against the current ZIKV outbreak, and eventually lay the foundation for a preparedness research network against any future emerging severe infectious threats. In response, on 1 February 2016, the WHO Director-General declared that the recent clusters of cases of microcephaly and neurological disorders constitute a PHEIC under the IHR (2005). Furthermore, WHO established the Zika Strategic Response Plan and Joint Operation to combat the ZIKV disease. Yet significant funding gaps existed for the full implementation of the Strategic Response Plan published in February 2016, for both WHO and its partners. Both the WHO and the international community’s response to the Zika epidemic must therefore be comprehensive, equitable, and substantial.

The explosive pandemic of Zika virus infection occurring throughout South America, Central America, and the Caribb...

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