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Zika virus spread a ‘global health crisis’

MML

The World Health Organisation has declared the spread of Zika virus and linked birth defects is a global health emergency.

That announcement came amid reports an Australian tourist has contracted Zika after being bitten by a monkey in Bali.

Professor Cameron Simmons told Ross and John the disease is fairly mild in most cases.

‘The concern is for pregnant women, with the suspicion that the Zika virus is involved in causing foetal brain malformation,’ he said.

LISTEN: Prof Simmons breaks down Zika for us

The virus has been linked to about 4000 cases of babies born with abnormally small brains in Brazil. The link has not been scientifically proven but is strongly suspected.

It is ‘spreading explosively’ and could infect as many as 4 million people in the Americas, the WHO said last week.

Speaking after a meeting of experts this morning, WHO chief Margaret Chan said an international effort is needed to combat the outbreak.

‘The evidence is growing and is getting strong,’ she said.

‘We need a co-ordinated international response to make sure we get to the bottom of this.’

An Australian man, bitten by a monkey in Bali, has been diagnosed with Zika virus.

The man was treated at Royal Darwin hospital.

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