Zika virus unlikely to hit South Africa

Zika virus unlikely to hit South Africa

The Zika virus is unlikely to spread among people in South Africa.  This is according to the National Institute of Communicable Diseases.

File photo

The institute has been speaking to Newswatch after the World Health Organisation declared an outbreak of the virus in the Americas a global health emergency. The mosquito-borne virus has been linked to microcephaly, which causes babies to be born with small brains. 

The institute's Professor Shabir Madhi says declaring the virus a global health emergency is to ensure countries have the necessary steps in place to detect it.

"What's happening right now is that the mosquito that is actually able to spread that virus to humans is largely concentrated in the Americas, East Africa as well but more in countries along the equator. I think what is important to us, is for us to have surveillance systems especially for people that are returning from the countries that are actually affected and specifically for pregnant woman," he said. 

Also read: Brazil issues warning over Zika virus ahead of Olympics

Madhi says people need to be careful of where they travel.

"There has been an advisory that pregnant women should avoid travelling to areas where the Zika virus is being spread. There's a few countries in the Americas where the virus is proven so anyone that is pregnant or anyone that is falling pregnant needs to avoid travelling to those areas," he said.

(File photo)

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