Sierra Leone — The Brazilian Ambassador to Sierra Leone, Jose Jorge Alcazar Almeida, said on Monday that the WHO declaration would allow for better coordination of actions and mobilization of the necessary funding in the global effort at preventing the spread of the virus as well as to foster research to develop a vaccine and new drugs.
He said for the 2016 Olympic and Para-Olympic Games, the Government of Brazil has already adopted major precautions.
“All construction areas of the Olympic venues are regularly visited by Environmental Health Officers to monitor and control any possible mosquito breeding sites. The Olympics will take place during the winter in the Southern Hemisphere, a period of cooler temperature which usually contributes to a sharp decrease in mosquito-borne illnesses,.” He noted.
“While any reaction based on misinformation may disrupt our daily lives without helping to solve the problem, effective measures require consistent scientific data, transparency, rational planning and decisive action.
“The international community must unite in this global effort to draw the right lessons to improve the international framework for preventing and fighting epidemics and tropical diseases. Brazil will continue to do its part with resolve and determination”.
“WHO declared the Zika Virus, transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, an international health emergency, and that the announcement followed the declaration by Brazil of a public national emergency as the main concern of the Government.
“It is important to avoid misinformation. In accordance with the WHO and the World Tourism Organization, there are no binding restrictions on travel or trade on account of the Zika Virus in Brazil,” he said, adding that, pregnant women must take extra-precautions by talking to a doctor before travelling to the most affected area.
He also pregnant women should consider the possibility of delaying travel to any area where the local transmission of infection of the virus may be occurring. These guidelines, he noted, are in accordance with recommendations issued by the Brazilian Ministry of Health”.
According to the Brazilian Ambassador, the Zika is not a new Ebola, its symptoms being similar to mild flu in adults, adding that it is naturally a matter of concern, giving the association with microcephaly in newborn babies.
“The Brazilian Ministry of Health is investigating 3,670 suspected cases of microcephaly with 2,404 confirmed cases of which 17 were linked to the Zika Virus while 707 suspected cases of microcephaly had their diagnosis discarded. But this is in no way diminishes the seriousness of the risk nor does it weaken the resolve of the Brazilian Government to take action,” he said.
Jose Jorge Alcazar Almeida revealed that at the domestic level, his Government is seriously addressing the issue as a matter of utmost importance, not only in view of the Olympic Games but also because of its potential long-term impact on the Brazilian people for which it has launched a three-front National Plan to combat the Aedes aegypti, healthcare and assistance to pregnant women and children.