No Zika virus case reported in Pakistan : Health Ministry, WHO

ISLAMABAD : The health ministry and the World Health Organisation (WHO) said that no case of Zika virus has so far been reported in Pakistan.

“Health authorities in Pakistan are very much aware of the current global health security debate around the Zika virus and are carefully monitoring any implication for Pakistan. At this stage, there is no case of Zika fever in Pakistan and the risk for such outbreak is non-significant,” they said in a joint statement issued here on Saturday.

“We are neither recommending any restrictions on travel or international trade, nor imposing any sort of screening measures for checking incoming travelers at airport of Pakistan,” the press release said adding that the Ministry of Health and the WHO were monitoring the situation following reports of Zika virus cases in Latin America.

Given the proximity between Zika and Dengue viruses, collective and individual prevention measures for both viruses were identical. Any effective action against dengue is an equally effective action against Zika.

“Pregnant women have the same risk as the rest of the population of being infected with Zika virus. The transmission from the mother to her child during pregnancy or at the time of delivery remains unproved. The reason why the Zika virus has received global attention is for its alleged, yet unproven, association with severe birth defect from infected pregnant women, and with an impairing neurological disorder called Guillain-Barre Syndromes,” it said.

“The Ministry of Health is ensuring optimal level of preparedness in accordance with Pakistani obligation towards the International Health Regulations. The ministry and the WHO reaffirm the importance of adequately interpreting the globally reported information on ZIKV in the national context to avoid creating anxiety and concern among the people of Pakistan. It is important to settle on evidence-based information and not generalize concepts which have yet to be scientifically validated,” the press release concluded.

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