World Health Organization


Daffer Fernanda

Cite as

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Permanent Representative of the Republic of Poland to the World Health Organization

(Stały Przedstawiciel Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej w Światowej Organizacji Zdrowia)

Committee: World Health Organization

Topic 1: The Rise of Zika Virus

Only recently emerging, Zika virus is a member of the flavivirus with mosquitoes from the Aedes genus as its vectors. Despite its recent light to infamy, the virus itself had been discovered in Uganda in 1947 – the patient zero being a member of a group of monkeys which at that time, were monitored for symptoms of yellow fever. Outbreaks of Zika have been reported in the Americas, Africa, Asia, and Oceania in the 1960s to 1980s. However, in the recent outbreaks of 2015-2016, the virus appears to be concentrated in South America and the Caribbean. Due to the nature of the infection, virtually anyone visiting afflicted countries is susceptible to infection. In the Americas alone, there had been 56,685 confirmed cases of Zika with 9 casualties and 406,755 suspected Zika cases, while in Africa, Asia, and Oceania 495 individuals have been confirmed to be infected with Zika; on the other hand, 10,287 suspected carriers of Zika have been listed (1). What gives Zika its current dread is the way it affects infectees – after infiltrating and infecting a human host, the virus alters its host’s DNA and in turn, interfere with its reproductive ability. In an interesting twist of events, however, the Zika virus have been linked with the Guillain-Barré Syndrome after 42 individuals afflicted with the GBS in French Polynesia were admitted to the Centre Hospitalier de Polynésie Française after being bitten by mosquitoes carrying the Zika virus – thus triggering of the Guillain-Barré Syndrome’s symptoms, causing the immune system to attack the peripheral nervous system, leading to paralysis (2).

Despite the grave situation, no United Nations treaties or resolutions have been made regarding the emergency of the Zika epidemic. However, this does not mean that the World Health Organization is currently sitting around, twiddling their thumbs waiting for a clear solution. They have recently constructed a Strategic Response Framework focusing on enhancing awareness and recognition of the Zika virus. The American ...

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