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Zika virus: WHO fearful of spread into Africa, Asia, Europe and US

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By Euronews  with WHO, Sanofi, Reuters, Sydney Morning Herald
Zika virus: WHO fearful of spread into Africa, Asia, Europe and US

As Australian health officials confirm two cases of the Zika virus in New South Wales, the World Health Organization has expressed fear it could spread even further.

Those affected in NSW had recently travelled to the Caribbean. Local authorities say there is no serious threat to Australia. However, other nations may not be able to escape infection, according to WHO expert, Anthony Costello.

“This is not spread person-to-person, this is spread from mosquitoes to persons. And particular sorts of mosquitoes. So, we’re talking about women living in southern America, in Africa, in Asia potentially being at risk if the virus moves from South America back into Africa and Asia, and even southern Europe and southern United States,” he said.

Experts are working on preventative measures, but they may be years away from realisation, a WHO doctor told journalists.

French pharmaceutical company Sanofi has launched a project to develop a vaccine, using its expertise in diseases such as Dengue Fever, which is also mosquito-borne.

On Monday, February 1, the WHOdeclared an international public health emergency over a condition which has been linked to Zika.