APEIR News

International Experts Joint Statement on Zika Virus

We bring to your attention the joint statement from the Roundtable Meeting on Zika Virus: Improving Detection, Preparedness, and Response, Through Surveillance and Research in Bali, Indonesia, 17-18 November 2016. Please kindly circulate across your respective networks. Your support is much appreciated.

International Experts Joint Statement on Zika Virus, 18 November 2016, Bali, Indonesia

A group of leading experts met in Bali, Indonesia in November 2016 to discuss how to tackle the devastating disease Zika, a virus spread by mosquitoes. The meeting was organised by the Asia Partnership on Emerging Infectious Disease Research (APEIR) and the Mekong Basin Disease Surveillance Consortium (MBDS) both part of the Connecting Organisations for Regional Disease Surveillance (CORDS) charity which works to reduce and prevent the spread of infectious diseases by exchanging information between surveillance systems globally. CORDS membership covers South East Europe, the Middle East, The Mekong Basin, South East Asia, East Africa and South Africa.

Participants from 15 countries including Vietnam, Singapore and Brazil issued the following statement: “The first human incidences of Zika were in Uganda and Tanzania in 1952 but it was the large Zika outbreak in Brazil in 2015 which attracted worldwide attention because of its association with microcephaly, a congenital condition linked with incomplete brain development, characterised by an abnormally small head. The incidence of defects was so severe that Zika was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. A total of 75 countries* have now been affected and the ease of transportation across borders means many more will suffer.

This meeting was precipitated by the recent Zika outbreaks in South East Asia, with network members in that region wanting to learn from Brazilian experts on how they are dealing with the outbreak, in particular surveillance methods, how they have communicated risk and clinical manifestations such as microcephaly.

Prof. Amin Soebandrio said: “Zika is actually not a new disease, it’s a re-emerging infection that we need to take extremely seriously as we currently have no medicine to tackle it and no cure. Approximately 2.6 billion people** live in an environment suitable for Zika transmission so we must work internationally to urgently improve how we detect and respond to Zika.” 

Our six CORDS networks and affiliates agree to collectively respond to Zika and congenital infections by continuing to use a One Health approach. We will:

  1. Continue collaborative research initiatives to manage the spread of the Zika virus, congenital infections and other vector borne viruses.
  2. Strengthen our networks’ surveillance and improve our existing control measures.
  3. Continue our involvement in global prevention and response through surveillance, research and capacity building activities.
  4. Keep supporting and working with stakeholders and networks, including global level programmes by the World Health Organization, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, on information sharing, knowledge transfer and best practice through conferences, training and mentoring.

We are committed to the effective implementation of the above actions and other measures to tackle Zika Virus and other infectious disease threats globally.

-Ends-

* Statistic taken from the World Health Organization – ‘Countries and territories that have reported mosquito-borne Zika virus transmission’, 8th December 2016

** Statistic taken from ‘Potential for Zika virus introduction and transmission in resource-limited countries in Africa and the Asia-Pacific region: a modelling study’ published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases on 1st September 2016.

Organizers:

  1. Connecting Organisations for Regional Disease Surveillance or CORDS is a charity comprised of six international networks, working to reduce and prevent the spread of infectious diseases by exchanging information between surveillance systems globally. Our vision is a world united against disease. For more information please visit cordsnetwork.orgor contact Anna Noack, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  1. APEIR is a research network, composed of researchers, practitioners and senior government officials from Cambodia, China, Lao PDR, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam. For more information please visit http://www.apeiresearch.net
  1. The Mekong Basin Disease Surveillance (MBDS) consortium comprises six participating countries: Cambodia, China (Yunnan and Guangxi Provinces), Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam and a growing number of development partners who together seek to reduce morbidity and mortality caused by outbreak-prone diseases in the sub-region. For more information please visit http://www.mbds.org/