The virus is transmitted to humans primarily by aedes aegypti mosquitoes. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said Tuesday it is implementing targeted measures to reduce mosquito populations.

“A critical measure to combat the spread of the disease is to intensify control of mosquito populations in affected and at-risk areas,” said FAO chief Jose Graziano da Silva.

FAO has also developed a set of recommendations on management of insecticides in a joint program with the World Health Organization (WHO).

China on Tuesday confirmed an imported Zika case, the country’s first.

The patient, a 34-year-old male, had traveled to Venezuela and showed symptoms of fever, headache and dizziness on Jan. 28, before returning to his hometown on Feb. 5.

Comments by Kipchoge Keino, head of the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK), on Tuesday added to the confusion caused by Zika when he said Kenya might withdraw from the Rio Olympic Games scheduled for Aug. 5-21 because of the virus.

NOCK later played down the comments, saying it’s still early to make any decision as the games are six months away.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Monday raised the activation level of its Emergency Operations Center to Level 1, its highest state of alert, in response to Zika.

President Barack Obama requested 1.8 billion U.S. dollars in emergency funding to fight the fast-spreading virus.8 A White House statement said that as spring and summer approach, the country needs to be fully prepared for the larger and more active mosquito populations the seasons bring, to mitigate and quickly address transmissions within the continental United States, particularly in the southern part of the country.

The United States’ southern neighbors are in grave conditions, with Brazil being the most affected country.

The WHO has declared an international health emergency over the virus, citing concern over a possible link with a rise in cases of microcephaly, a birth defect characterized by an abnormally small head.

On the eve of the carnival season, Brazil’s health ministry urged pregnant women to stay indoors, wear clothing that covers the limbs despite the high temperatures and use insect repellents.

The state-run Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz), one of the leading institutions researching Zika, warned it had detected the presence of the virus in urine and saliva, indicating that it can be transmitted via an exchange of body fluid, for example during sex. Enditem

Source: Xinhua


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