Stark claim comes ahead of WHOs emergency meeting, with notional vaccine-testing on pregnant women a practical and ethical nightmare
The Zika virus outbreak in Latin America could be a bigger threat to global health than the Ebola epidemic that killed more than 11,000 people in Africa.
That is the stark assert of several senior health experts ahead of an emergency session of the World Health Organisation on Monday which will decide whether the Zika threat which is linked to an alarming rise in cases of foetal deformation called microcephaly should be rated a global health crisis.
In many routes the Zika outbreak is worse than the Ebola epidemic of 2014-15, said Jeremy Farrar, head of the Wellcome Trust. Most virus carriers are symptomless. It is a silent infection in a group of highly vulnerable someones pregnant women that is associated with a horrible outcome for their babies.
There is no prospect of a vaccine for Zika at present, in contrast to Ebola, for which several are now under trial. The real problem is that trying to develop a inoculation that would have to be tested on pregnant women is a practical and ethical nightmare, added Mike Turner, head of infection and immuno-biology at the Wellcome Trust.