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Zika

Zika in Africa: Rare birth defect on the rise in Angola

LUANDA/CHICAGO: Emiliano Cula starts to cry as his tiny fingers, curled into a tight fist, are stretched by a physical therapist to stimulate motor control. Born in a poor neighborhood of Angola’s capital Luanda, the 10-month old boy has microcephaly, a birth defect marked by a small head and serious developmental problems. He still can’t sit upright and has difficulty seeing and hearing. “They don’t know what caused it,” Cula’s mother Marie Boa says, sheltering under a blue umbrella from the summer rains. “The…

Children with ‘normal’ heads may have Zika brain damage: study

PARIS: Babies infected with Zika virus may suffer severe brain damage even if they do not display the signature symptom of an unusually small head, a study in monkeys suggested Monday (Feb 5). This meant that brain-damaged children may be walking around undiagnosed and missing out on life-bettering therapy, scientists reported in the science journal Nature Medicine. "Current criteria using head size to diagnose Zika-related brain injury fail to capture more subtle brain damage that can lead to significant learning…

Bill Gates warns world ‘vulnerable’ to deadly epidemic in next decade

LONDON: Billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates warned on Friday that the world was vulnerable to a deadly epidemic of an illness like flu, with the recent Ebola and Zika outbreaks underlining weaknesses in global efforts to tackle health crises swiftly. Gates, whose foundation invests in improving healthcare in developing countries, said the global emergency response system was not strong enough and the ability to create new drugs and vaccines quickly was lacking. He added that there needed to be more focus on…

Zika likely to spread in Asia-Pacific region, WHO warns

MANILA: The Zika virus is set to spread through Asia, the World Health Organization warned Monday, with hundreds of cases reported in Singapore and two Thai babies diagnosed with Zika-linked microcephaly. The mosquito-borne virus has been detected in 70 countries worldwide including at least 19 countries in the Asia-Pacific region, said WHO director for health security and emergencies Li Ailan. A WHO report released at the annual regional meeting in Manila said the virus was "highly likely to further spread in the region"…