Outbreaks and emergencies

Zika virus and complications

Zika Risk Assessment in the Western Pacific Region

(as of 11 October 2016)

Based on available information to date, it is highly likely that the Western Pacific Region will continue to report cases, and possibly new outbreaks of Zika virus infection. This is due to the wide distribution of the competent vector in the region, the high volume of travel to and from endemic and affected areas and some populations without immunity to the virus.

Large-scale outbreaks increase the possibility of having babies born with microcephaly and/or other central nervous system (CNS) complications; and cases of Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS) triggered by Zika.

Therefore, it is crucial that countries and areas in the Western Pacific Region to:

  • Strengthen existing surveillance systems to promptly detect cases and complications
  • Establish or strengthen systems to provide care, services and support to affected individuals, families and communities
  • Establish or strengthen systems to contribute to improving understanding of Zika through supporting research
  • Develop a long-term strategy to mitigate the impact of this public health threat

This risk assessment is made based on available information to date. The results of the assessment may change as new information becomes available.

Preparedness for Zika virus testing in the World Health Organization Western Pacific Region

WHO/J. Rivaca

The WHO Regional Office for the Western Pacific initiated a rapid survey among national-level public health laboratories in 19 countries and areas to determine regional capacity for ZIKV detection. The survey indicated that 16/19 (84%) countries had capacity for molecular detection of ZIKV while others facilitated testing through referral. These results suggest that robust laboratory capacity is in place to support ZIKV surveillance in the Western Pacific Region

Zika Outbreak Response in Tonga: Providing Special Care for Pregnant Women

Pregnant women living in or travelling to areas of Zika virus transmission are given special care in Tonga as the Zika virus may cause microcephaly in babies. To guide its response, the Ministry of Health, with support from various partners, is currently implementing the Zika Virus Infection Response Plan. The key elements of the plan include surveillance, public awareness and community engagement, vector control, laboratory and hospital preparedness including clinical management.