Zika Virus: Is Africa Ready?

Published on 23rd February 2016

The Zika virus is currently a global health concern. Africa should be proactive to combat it before it hits the region hard in ebola-like proportions. Zika, the Aedes-mosquito-borne virus has hit Central and Latin America the hardest, with more than three million reported cases of infection last year, according to the Pan American Health Organisation. It is transmitted to people through the bite of an infected mosquito from the Aedes genus, mainly Aedes aegypti, which also transmits dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever.

The absence of a vaccine to combat it coupled with the continent’s weak healthcare system is a point of concern. Africa bears one-quarter of the global disease burden, yet has only 2% of the world’s doctors. It is time that the continent created a collaboration and consensus among key stakeholders and consolidated best practices to address this current menace.

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