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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 408-409
Implementing strategic response framework for the control of Zika virus infection: World Health Organization

Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

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Date of Web Publication14-Nov-2016

How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Implementing strategic response framework for the control of Zika virus infection: World Health Organization. Ann Trop Med Public Health 2016;9:408-9

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Implementing strategic response framework for the control of Zika virus infection: World Health Organization. Ann Trop Med Public Health [serial online] 2016 [cited 2020 May 31];9:408-9. Available from:
Dear Sir,

Since the identification of the Zika virus in a monkey in Uganda in 1947, only rare cases have been isolated among humans.[1] Even if humans were infected, the disease presented in a mild form and remained restricted to a localized geographical area.[1],[2] However, since the detection of the virus in the Americas last year, the situation has been completely opposite with the number of cases increasing at an exponential rate.[2] In addition, a potential association has been observed between the infection and the simultaneous rise in the incidence of Guillain Barré syndrome (GBS) and microcephaly in the affected nations.[3]

In fact, owing to the potential of the infectious agent to spread to a wide geographical region due to the lack of immunity among the general population, and no rapid diagnostic tests/effective vaccine/specific treatment approach, the disease has been declared as the public health emergency of international concern.[2],[4] The current estimates suggest that in almost 39 nations, local circulation of the virus has been confirmed, while imported cases have been identified in the USA, Europe, and some of the nations in the Asia and Pacific region.[2] Further, some of the affected nations have even stopped counting the number of cases due to the extensive magnitude of the disease.[2]

Acknowledging the potential risk of global spread and a tendency of the virus to affect the newborns, the World Health Organization has formulated a framework for the strategic response and for involvement of global stakeholders to eventually extend support to the affected nations, ensure capacity building, enhance the ability of the health system to respond to future such outbreaks, and encourage research work to improve the understanding of the virus.[2],[5] In order to successfully implement the response framework globally, there is a need of estimated financial assistance of US $ 56 million and support from more than 20 international partners.[2] However, in order to obtain long-term benefits, there is a great need that all the partners work in collaboration, including strict implementation of measures envisaged under the international health regulations.[1],[4],[5]

The proposed framework aims to achieve three objectives, namely, strengthening of the surveillance mechanism (to obtain precise data pertaining to the epidemiological distribution of cases through improved laboratory support, GBS, and microcephaly); development of an effective response (through effective health risk communication based on the concerns identified in the affected population, strategies to ensure community engagement, and sensitization of the health professionals; measures to promote vector control and personal protection; and offer guidance, care and support to the affected people and the high-risk group of pregnant females); and facilitate research work, especially by studying the association between the rise in incidence of microcephaly and neurological syndromes, and their possible association with Zika virus infection, and speed up the development of rapid diagnostics, vaccines, and therapeutics.[1],[2],[3],[4],[5]

To conclude, in order to successfully halt the rising incidence of the disease and simultaneously explore the association between the Zika virus infection and the congenital complications, the need of the hour is to globally implement the strategic response framework in collaboration with the international agencies and the national governments.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

   References Top

Lucey DR. Time for global action on Zika virus epidemic. BMJ 2016;352:i781.  Back to cited text no. 1
World Health Organization. Zika Strategic Response Framework and Joint Operations Plan. Geneva: WHO Press; 2016. p. 1-26.  Back to cited text no. 2
Schuler-Faccini L, Ribeiro EM, Feitosa IM, Horovitz DD, Cavalcanti DP, Pessoa A, et al. Possible Association between Zika Virus Infection and Microcephaly-Brazil, 2015. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2016;65:59-62.  Back to cited text no. 3
Bogoch II, Brady OJ, Kraemer MU, German M, Creatore MI, Kulkarni MA, et al. Anticipating the international spread of Zika virus from Brazil. Lancet 2016;387:335-6.  Back to cited text no. 4
Elachola H, Gozzer E, Zhuo J, Memish ZA. A crucial time for public health preparedness: Zika virus and the 2016 Olympics, Umrah, and Hajj. Lancet 2016;387:630-2.  Back to cited text no. 5

Correspondence Address:
Saurabh R Shrivastava
Department of Community Medicine, 3rd Floor, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai Village, Thiruporur - Guduvancherry Main Road, Sembakkam Post, Kancheepuram - 603 108, Tamil Nadu, India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1755-6783.193943

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