Israel faces ‘moderate’ risk for Zika virus outbreak, WHO warns



The Aedes aegypti mosquito, which transmits the Zika virus. Credit: Muhammad Mahdi Karim via Wikimedia Commons.

(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to The World Health Organization (WHO) issued a report on Wednesday warning that the Zika virus was expected to spread to parts of Europe and its surrounding region this coming summer, dividing countries into ones that have “moderate” and “low” risks of an outbreak. Israel was labeled as facing a moderate risk.

Israel received a “moderate” ranking because it is home to one of the strains of mosquitoes that can transmit Zika. Other reasons for such a warning include population density, urban environments, and robust global travel.

The majority of the people infected with Zika generally experience no symptoms, or light symptoms like rashes, fevers, and headaches. But scientists contend that contracting the virus during pregnancy can have extremely harmful implications, causing severe fetal abnormalities such as microcephaly. In rare cases, the Zika virus has also been linked to a disorder called Guillain-Barre syndrome, which can cause temporary paralysis.

Israeli health experts, in collaboration with the country’s Health and Environmental Protection ministries as well as the local authorities, have devised a plan designed to monitor and exterminate mosquitoes that may carry Zika. If implemented, the plan would give various enforcement bodies the authority to execute certain measures to prevent an Israeli outbreak of the virus. The proposal will be put to a vote among the Israeli ministerial cabinet.

Posted on May 19, 2016 .