Zika Virus

Rio 2016: Greg Rutherford freezing sperm as Zika virus precaution

Rutherford's partner Susie Verrill told Standard Issue magazine that they harbour serious concerns over the virus, which experts say is to blame for a surge of cases in Latin America of microcephaly - a serious birth defect in which babies are born with unusually small heads and brains.

The pair, who want to have more children, are as a result taking precautions ahead of Rutherford's defence of his long jump gold medal.

Hawai'i university to look into Zika virus

RNZI reports an American Samoan woman who was infected with the virus is one of two people involved in a research project by the University of Hawai'i.

The university said the birth of two infants in Honolulu in December to mothers who were infected with the virus, including the American Samoan, illustrates how little is known about it.

Of the two babies, only one had microcephaly, a neurological disorder associated with unusually small heads and, often, brain damage.

The disorder is suspected to be linked to the Zika virus.

WHO to hold emergency meeting discussing Zika threat at the Olympics

Several experts have called for the Games to be postponed or moved over fears it could speed up the spread of the virus around the world.

The WHO has rejected these calls, however, claiming it would "not significantly alter" the outbreak.

They have now called an emergency meeting for later this month to re-evaluate the situation.

"The emergency Committee meeting will consider the situation in Brazil, including the question of the Olympics," said Nyka Alexander, a spokeswoman for the WHO.

Brazilian officials vow to step-up "information campaign" to downplay Zika virus fears

Leading American cyclist Tejay van Garderen today withdrew his name from consideration for the Olympics due to concerns he may contract the disease and pass it to his pregnant wife.

Van Garderen, a member of the 2012 Olympic team, who finished fifth at the 2014 Tour de France, was set to form part of the US team for the road race.

Zika virus may have originated from Pacific Island canoeists

NZ Herald reports the study, published in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, suggests the Zika virus sweeping through Latin America may have been introduced to Rio de Janeiro during the 6th World Sprint Championship canoe race in August 2014.

The race included teams from four Pacific countries French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Cook Islands and Easter Island where the virus circulated during 2014.

Zika is believed to cause defects in the brains of fetuses if women become infected during pregnancy.

Caretaker PM questions health information dissemination about Zika

Today, the MOH and Samoa Tourism Authority conducted a training on ways to prevent the growth of Zika carrying mosquitos.


DoH Health Centers offer free check ups for pregnant women

According to a statement from DOH, the free checkups are to 'help pregnant mothers at this time of the Zika outbreak, to ensure that they don't miss any checkups and are well protected from Zika." 

Pregnant women are a special target group "due to a suspected link between the virus and deformities in babies born of mothers who contracted the virus" while pregnant.  

According to the Health Department, such cases have occurred in Brazil but have not been documented and confirmed in the United States and its territories.  

Australian Federal Police officers have contracted Zika virus in Pacific

A spokeswoman for the force told Fairfax Media that the cases had happened before this year. The officers were treated and do not appear to be showing any lasting effects of the mosquito-borne virus, which is currently the subject of a World Health Organisation-declared emergency after being linked to birth defects.

"No concern for now," MOH CEO on Zika virus in Samoa

"The first case that came out positive of Zika was in September last year, and we’ve been monitoring if it goes viral. However, since September no other cases have come up to this date," said Leausa Toleafoa Dr. Take Naseri.

"So this gap is too far for it to be epidemic, because when a virus is new, everyone is vulnerable, and by now we should have at least a hundred cases."

"There is no sign of an epidemic or widespread (cases), but that does not stop people from being aware and preparing," Leausa said.

Zika virus alert reaches Samoa

The rapid spread of the Zika virus has prompted Latin American governments to urge women not to get pregnant for up to two years, an extraordinary precaution aimed at avoiding birth defects believed to be linked to the illness.

A seemingly routine public health problem for countries that are home to a certain type of mosquito has morphed into a potentially culture-shaping phenomenon in which the populations of several nations have been asked to delay procreation.