Australia puts up US $500,000 to fight Zika virus in Pacific Region

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To prevent the spreading and combat the Zika virus, the Australian government has pledged US $500,000 in aid.

Australian minister for the Pacific said in a statement that the fund will be used to combat the virus in Tonga and other Pacific countries.

“Stopping the spread of Zika in the Pacific is essential to protecting Australia from the virus, which has seen a resurgence in our region,” Ciobo said.

The initial focus of the aid program will be on strengthening prevention and response capacity to the virus in Tonga.

Australia will work with the Tonga Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization (WHO) on controlling the mosquito population and increasing access to testing, the Australian statement added.

The Zika virus primarily affects monkeys and humans and is transmitted by daytime-active mosquitoes. A causal relationship between the Zika virus and neurological disorders including microcephaly, which causes babies to be born with small heads, is strongly suspected.

The Zika outbreak started in Brazil in spring of 2015. It has since spread across Latin America, allegedly causing several deaths. The World Health Organization (WHO) has branded the current Zika virus outbreak a public health emergency.

Last week, the United States added Jamaica and Tonga to its growing list of countries that pregnant women should avoid amid the spread of the mosquito-borne Zika virus.

No vaccine is available to treat the Zika virus. (with report from Sputnik)



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