WHO / ZIKA UPDATE

22-Nov-2016 00:02:27
Following discussions the World Health Organization (WHO) is holding with Member States on the updated Zika research agenda, a WHO official told journalists that “we know enough about the virus to know that it will continue to spread.” WHO
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STORY: WHO / ZIKA UPDATE
TRT: 02:27
SOURCE: WHO
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 22 NOVEMBER 2016, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND / FILE
SHOTLIST
1. Wide shot, press conference
2. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Pete Salama, Executive Director, Health Emergencies Programme, World Health Organization (WHO):
“We know enough about the virus to know that it will continue to spread and we know that it causes microcephaly. Indeed, there are many other things about the virus that we don’t know and will be subject to a long-term research agenda. And in that spirit, we will be transforming the Zika programme from an emergency programme into a medium to long-term programme of work.”
3. Med shot, journalists
4. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Pete Salama, Executive Director, Health Emergencies Programme, World Health Organization (WHO):
“Zika virus is here to stay and WHO will continue to work with countries so they are best prepared to deal with this acute public health priority with new tools, with better data and with the best scientific advice possible to inform their response as we collectively learn more about this public health threat.”
5. Wide shot, press conference
6. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Nathalie Broutet, Medical officer, Reproductive Health and Research, World Health Organization (WHO):
“In microcephaly or Guillain Barrée syndrome, when you look at the incidence following Zika virus infection it is quite a rare event, and because it is a rare event and because co-factor are very numerous, we really need to gather evidence as much as possible and that is what we are doing with the work on meta-analysis of the different research protocols and also with the generic protocols that are published in the WHO research website for Zika virus.”
7. Wide shot, press conference
8. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Anthony Costello, Director, Maternal, New-born, Child and Adolescent Health, World Health Organization (WHO):
“It is a public health problem of huge concern for the world, 69 countries have seen Zika virus emerge in the last two years. We are talking about a virus that causes brain damage and potentially lifelong disability which is a huge blow to families.”
9. Wide shot, press conference
10. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Anthony Costello, Director, Maternal, New-born, Child and Adolescent Health, World Health Organization (WHO):
“Many countries of the world do not have surveillance systems, they do not have mechanisms for monitoring microcephaly and they do not have the services you need to really monitor what happens to these children or to provide the support to their families, so this is a very serious problem, even one affected child has a very big impact on their community, their family.”
11. Wide shot, press conference
STORYLINE
Following discussions the World Health Organization (WHO) is holding with Member States on the updated Zika research agenda, a WHO official told journalists that “we know enough about the virus to know that it will continue to spread.”

Speaking via teleconference from Geneva today (22 Nov), the Executive Director for Health Emergencies Programme of WHO, Pete Salama, said “there are many other things about the virus that we don’t know and will be subject to a long-term research agenda. And in that spirit, we will be transforming the Zika programme from an emergency programme into a medium to long-term programme of work.”

Salama said Zika “is here to stay and WHO will continue to work with countries so they are best prepared to deal with this acute public health priority with new tools, with better data and with the best scientific advice possible to inform their response as we collectively learn more about this public health threat.”

The briefing focussed on the situation of microcephaly and other neurological disorders associated with Zika virus, and next steps as the response evolves to address the virus and complications as long-term problems that must be managed.

Dr Nathalie Broutet, who is a medical officer for reproductive health and research at WHO, said that “in microcephaly or Guillain Barrée syndrome, when you look at the incidence following Zika virus infection it is quite a rare event, and because it is a rare event and because co-factor are very numerous, we really need to gather evidence as much as possible and that is what we are doing with the work on meta-analysis of the different research protocols and also with the generic protocols that are published in the WHO research website for Zika virus.”

The director of maternal, new-born, child and adolescent health at WHO, Dr Anthony Costello, said Zika is “a public health problem of huge concern for the world,” as 69 countries “have seen Zika virus emerge in the last two years.”

Costello said “many countries of the world do not have surveillance systems, they do not have mechanisms for monitoring microcephaly and they do not have the services you need to really monitor what happens to these children or to provide the support to their families, so this is a very serious problem, even one affected child has a very big impact on their community, their family.”

The Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) declared by the Director-General of WHO in in February 2016 has led the world to an urgent and coordinated response, providing the understanding that Zika virus infection and associated consequences represent a highly significant long-term problem that must be managed by WHO, States Parties and other partners in a way that other infectious disease threats are managed.
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