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Table of Contents   
LETTER TO EDITOR  
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 764-765
Potential risk of Zika virus outbreak in the European region: Public health alert


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

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Date of Web Publication21-Aug-2017
 

How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Potential risk of Zika virus outbreak in the European region: Public health alert. Ann Trop Med Public Health 2017;10:764-5

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Potential risk of Zika virus outbreak in the European region: Public health alert. Ann Trop Med Public Health [serial online] 2017 [cited 2019 Nov 16];10:764-5. Available from: http://www.atmph.org/text.asp?2017/10/3/764/213140


Dear Sir,

The 2015 outbreak of Zika virus disease has been acknowledged as a public health emergency.[1] The epidemiological distribution and determinants of the disease has been carefully monitored, and all measures have been recommended to ensure that the disease does not result in a worldwide catastrophe.[1],[2] However, owing to the presence of the vector in most of the nations across the globe, the emergence of outbreak at any point of time in any region cannot be ruled out.[2]

In the European region till mid-April 2016, almost 409 imported cases of the disease have been reported, but there is no evidence for even a single case resulting due to the local virus transmission.[1],[3] However, the risk assessment of the European region suggests a low to moderate risk of the outbreak in the region between June and August due to the presence of causative mosquito.[1],[4] In addition, the travelers returning to the region from the disease affected nations are also expected to play a defining role in the causation of the outbreak.[3] Nevertheless, the good thing is that the causative vector is not widely present in the region, and even in nations where it is present the risk of outbreak varies between each nation.[1]

This overall risk has been estimated on the basis of likelihood of the local virus transmission (due to the presence of mosquito vector, favorable climate, positive history of other diseases caused by the vector, urbanization, etc.) in the absence of measures to mitigate the threat, and the capacity of the nation to interrupt the transmission of the disease in the initial stages through implementation of specific measures (like vector control, surveillance, laboratory upscaling and emergency risk communications).[1],[4],[5] It has been revealed that 18 European nations harbor the causative vector, while almost 80% of the nations have good capacity to respond to any such outbreak.[4]

The main reason to perform the risk assessment is to ensure that depending on the extent of the risk, each of the nations should take specific measures to not only bridge the existing gaps, but also even improve their capacities to respond to the potential rise in the incidence of neurological complications, and thus prevent any large outbreak of the disease.[1] The preparedness comprises of strategies like strengthening vector control interventions, empowering health personnel to promptly detect the case as well as complications, training the laboratory staff, and ensuring the availability of desired logistics to perform diagnostic tests at the earliest, creating awareness among communities to minimize vector breeding sites, improving risk communication strategies, and offering special care/support to the high-risk group of people.[2],[4]

It is very important to understand that the risk estimate may change as more and more evidence becomes available about the different aspects of the disease, but it is still a good estimate to improve the existing shortcomings in the health sector.[4] At the same time, it is highly recommended that other nations across the world should also strengthen their capacity and improve their preparedness to respond to any such outbreaks.[1],[2]

To conclude, there is a moderate-to-low level of risk for a potential outbreak of the disease in the European region. However, in order to effectively respond and minimize human sufferings and burden on the health system, it is the need of the hour to focus on the existing deficiencies and ensure community engagement.

Acknowledgement

SRS contributed in the conception or design of the work, drafting of the work, approval of the final version of the manuscript, and agreed for all aspects of the work.

PSS contributed in the literature review, revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content, approval of the final version of the manuscript, and agreed for all aspects of the work.

JR contributed in revising the draft, approval of the final version of the manuscript, and agreed for all aspects of the work.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
   References Top

1.
WHO Regional Office for Europe Zika virus technical report. Interim Risk Assessment for WHO European Region. Denmark; WHO Press;2016.p. 1-13.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Hajra A, Bandyopadhyay D, Hajra SK. Zika virus: A global threat to humanity: A comprehensive review and current developments. N Am J Med Sci 2016;8:123-28.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
De Smet B, Van den Bossche D, van de Werve C, Mairesse J, Schmidt-Chanasit J, Michiels J. Confirmed Zika virus infection in a Belgian traveler returning from Guatemala and the diagnostic challenges of imported cases into Europe. J Clin Virol 2016;80:8-11.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
World Health Organization WHO calls on countries to prepare as Zika virus expected to spread in Europe in late spring and summer; 2016. Available from: http://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/emergencies/zika-virus/news/news/2016/05/who-calls-on-countries-to-prepare-as-zika-virus-expected-to-spread-in-europe-in-late-spring-and-summer Accessed May 19 2016.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Akiner MM, Demirci B, Babuadze G, Robert V, Schaffner F. Spread of the invasive mosquitoes Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus in the black sea region increases risk of Chikungunya, Dengue, and Zika outbreaks in Europe. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 2016;10:e0004664.  Back to cited text no. 5
    

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


DOI: 10.4103/1755-6783.213140

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