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India, China, Pakistan & Bangladesh Face Zika Threat
Oct 27, 2016

A study published online in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal reveals that many Asian countries like India, China, Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Pakistan, and Bangladesh are expected to be at great risk of Zika virus transmission due to a combination of high travel volumes from Zika-affected areas in the Americas, local presence of mosquitoes capable of transmitting the virus, suitable climatic conditions, large populations and/or limited health resources.

  • Countries with a large number of travellers arriving from Zika-affected areas in the Americas and with large populations at risk include India (67,422 travellers arriving per year; 1.2 billion residents in potential Zika transmission areas), China (238,415 travellers; 242 million residents), Indonesia (13,865 travellers; 197 million residents), Philippines (35,635 travellers; 70 million residents), and Thailand (29,241 travellers; 59 million residents).
  • Among these countries, India, Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Pakistan and Bangladesh might be most vulnerable because of their limited per capita health resources. 
  • An estimated 2.6 billion people live in areas where the local mosquito species and suitable climatic conditions mean that local Zika virus transmission is theoretically possible. 
  • However, there are still many unknown things about the virus and how it spreads. The impact on populations will also depend heavily on the country’s ability to diagnose and respond to a possible outbreak.
  • In the study, the research team—which included scientists from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Oxford University (UK) and the University of Toronto (Canada)—established the ecological niche for Zika virus in the Americas.
  • At the time of the analysis, local transmission of Zika virus had been confirmed in 40 countries in Central and South America and the Caribbean.

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