Nation in bid to ward off the Zika virus

Updated: 2016-02-03 03:27

By SHAN JUAN(China Daily)

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Nation in bid to ward off the Zika virus

A health worker fumigates a house as residents wait outside during a campaign against the Zika virus and other mosquito-borne diseases in Carabayllo district on the outskirts of Lima, Peru, on Monday. [Photo/Agencies]

China is taking steps to avert a potential outbreak of the Zika virus after the World Health Organization declared the mosquito-borne virus an international public health emergency.

The virus has been linked to thousands of birth defects in Brazil, but no travel or trade restrictions have been imposed so far.

A news release from the WHO China on Tuesday evening described the virus as "an extraordinary event" that looks set to constitute a public health risk to other countries through the international spread of disease.

This will potentially require a coordinated international response, the statement added.

Lu Hongzhou, head of the Shanghai Public Health Clinical Center, said the existence in South China of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which harbors and spreads the Zika virus to humans through bites, and close exchanges of trade and people with South America put China at risk from imported outbreaks of the virus.

"The health authorities are drafting clinical guidelines for Zika detection and treatment," he said.

The WHO China office said the risk of Zika transmission is low during the winter in China, as the climatic conditions are not suitable for the Aedes aegypti mosquito.

But inspection and quarantine, trade, and travel agencies are on high alert.

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