Brazilians unite against Zika virus

Jan 29, 2016, 8:10 AM EST

President called for citizens to help combat spread of explosive virus. 

BBC News reports:

Ms Rousseff said national mobilisation was needed to eliminate the mosquitoes that spread the virus, and urged community groups and unions to help.

Zika is thought to cause a form of infant brain damage, microcephaly.

Three to four million people could be infected with Zika in the Americas this year, experts have warned.

Ms Rousseff rejected comments made by her health minister earlier this week, who said Brazil was badly losing the fight against the virus.

But Brazil is the country worst affected by the Zika outbreak, with 270 cases of microcephaly confirmed by the health ministry and 3,448 being investigated.

The New York Times reports:

Since last spring, more than 20 countries have reported locally acquired cases of Zika, which is transmitted by mosquitoes and may cause birth defects. “The level of alarm is extremely high,” said Dr. Margaret Chan, the director general of the W.H.O., in a speech in Geneva.

The focus of concern is the growing number of cases of microcephaly, a rare condition in which infants are born with abnormally small heads and damaged brains. Reports of babies born with microcephaly have beenrising sharply in Brazil as Zika spreads.