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February 17, 2016

Zika hysteria is way ahead of research into virus, says expert

Leslie Lobel says it’s unclear whether birth defects in Brazil are linked to Zika, and any panic can cause more harm than the virus itself

One of the world’s leading virologists has warned against public hysteria surrounding the Zika virus, saying global health authorities need to focus more broadly on prevention of infectious diseases rather than finding a cure for specific outbreaks.

Leslie Lobel, an Israeli physician who has worked with the US military and the Uganda Virus Research Institute to try to find a vaccine for Ebola, believes public panic over epidemics can cause more damage than the diseases [...]

 
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February 9, 2016

Zika virus: survey shows many Latin Americans lack faith in handling of crisis

Exclusive study also reveals large numbers of people agree with official advice that they should delay having children

Many Latin Americans doubt that public health officials in their countries can contain the Zika virus, but nevertheless said they find it reasonable to follow official advice and delay having children, a new study has shown.

The virus, which has spread rapidly through the Americas, has been linked to a rise in microcephaly in Brazil, a debilitating birth defect where children are born with abnormally small heads. Last week the [...]

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January 29, 2016

Zika outbreak raises fears of rise in deaths from unsafe abortions

Campaigners urge governments in Latin America to rethink bans on abortion and make contraception widely available

Campaigners are calling on Latin American governments to rethink their policies on contraception and abortion because of the spread of Zika virus, which they fear will lead to a rise in women’s deaths from unsafe abortions as well as the predicted surge in brain-damaged babies.

Several governments in the region have advised women to postpone getting pregnant for up to two years, which reproductive health groups say is impossible in countries where birth control is not easily available and many women fall pregnant through sexual violence.

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