First identified in monkeys in Uganda in 1947, the first human case was detected in Nigeria in 1954 and there have been further outbreaks in Africa, South East Asia and the Pacific Islands, most were small and Zika has not previously been considered a major threat to human health until May 2015 when it was reported in Brazil and has since spread rapidly.
By lifting its nine-month-old declaration, the UN’s health agency has acknowledged that the Zika is here to stay and so will no longer be treated as an international medical emergency. The WHO has reported more than 2,100 cases of nervous-system malformations in Brazil alone and has also linked the disease to sever birth defects including Microcephaly, where babies are born with abnormally small heads and restricted brain development in almost 30 countries.
Few people die from Zika and only one in five people infected is thought to develop symptoms including fever, a rash and joint pain. The virus is known mostly to be spread by mosquitoes, it can however also be transmitted sexually.