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IMA to action the World Medical Council's appeal to raise mass awareness about the Zika Virus
A plea for information on the Zika virus infection to be disseminated widely has come from the World Medical Association. Physician leaders at the WMA's Council meeting held last week in Buenos Aires called for widespread advice to protect women and men who live in or must travel to Zika-affected areas and who are considering becoming parents.

Advice should also be made available for pregnant women who may have been directly exposed to the Zika virus or whose partners live in or have travelled to Zika-affected areas.

IMA was one of the 35 National Medical Associations' to have attended the three-day conference. Speaking about the same, Dr SS Agarwal, Honorary Secretary General IMA said, "We will do our bit in helping raise large-scale awareness about Zika virus amongst both the public and amongst the medical fraternity. We feel that it is important that caregivers, as well as treating doctors are kept up to date with the latest information on the levels of developmental and other abnormalities associated with the Zika virus. We will not only educate our 2.5 lakh members through an integrated email campaign, digital outreach as well as through local awareness events but will explore partnerships towards running large-scale public campaigns. Through an integrated Global effort, we can fight such epidemics and make this world a healthier place to live in."

A resolution agreed by the meeting called for the World Health Organization to work with disease control organisations to better understand the natural history and current epidemiology of the Zika virus and to gather data on the efficacy of different mosquito control methodologies. Work on diagnostic tests, antivirals, and vaccines should continue in order to produce a product that is safe for use in pregnant women.

In his statement, the WMA President Sir Michael Marmot said that we would like to see public funding made available for this research and when products are developed states should ensure they are affordable and available to those most at risk.

A virus transmitted primarily by Aedes mosquitos' causes Zika virus disease. People with Zika virus disease can have symptoms that can include mild fever, skin rash, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise or headache. These symptoms normally last for 2-7 days. There is no specific treatment or vaccine currently available. The best form of prevention is protection against mosquito bites.

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