Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


WHO sounds Zika blood warning as Europe sees first pregnancy case

05 February 2016, 12:46

Geneva - The World Health Organization on Thursday advised countries against accepting blood donations from people who have travelled to regions affected by the Zika virus, as Spain announced Europe's first known case of the disease in a pregnant woman.

With dozens of cases emerging in Europeans and North Americans returning from Zika-affected areas, WHO stressed the potential link between Zika and microcephaly -- which causes children to be born with abnormally small heads -- and urged health authorities to take precautions.

"With the risk of incidence of new infections of Zika virus in many countries, and the potential linkage of the Zika virus infection with microcephaly and other clinical consequence, it is estimated as an appropriate precautionary measures to defer (blood) donors who return from areas with Zika virus outbreak," the WHO told AFP in a statement.

Meanwhile, in the first case of its kind in Europe, Spain's health ministry said a pregnant woman who had returned from Colombia had been diagnosed with the virus.

Also Read: South America holds crisis meeting as Zika 'nightmare' spreads

"One of the patients diagnosed in (the northeastern region of) Catalonia is a pregnant woman, who showed symptoms after having travelled to Colombia," the ministry announced, adding that she was one of seven cases in Spain.

The mosquito-borne virus has so far spread to 26 countries in South and Central America and the Caribbean and health authorities have warned it could infect up to four million people on the continent and spread worldwide.

The disease starts with a mosquito bite and normally causes little more than a fever and rash.

But since October, Brazil has reported 404 confirmed cases of microcephaly -- up from 147 in 2014 -- plus 3,670 suspected cases.

The timing has fuelled strong suspicions that Zika is causing the birth defect.

The virus has also been linked to a potentially paralysing nerve disorder called Guillain-Barre syndrome in some patients.

'Imported cases'

Spain's health ministry sought to ease concerns over the spread of the virus, pointing out that all seven cases in the country had caught the disease abroad.

"Up to now, the diagnosed cases of Zika virus in Spain... don't risk spreading the virus in our country as they are imported cases," it said.

The news comes a day after South American health ministers held an emergency meeting in Uruguay on the disease.

The meeting focused on ways to control the mosquito population spreading the virus, though reports of a US patient catching the disease by having sex fuelled fears that it will not be easy to contain.

WHO earlier this week declared the spike in serious birth defects an international emergency and launched a global Zika response unit.

Also Read: Sexually transmitted Zika case confirmed in Texas

Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Jamaica and the US territory of Puerto Rico have all warned women not to get pregnant.

The WHO warning on blood donations follows moves by Canada and Britain to protect their blood supplies.

Canadian blood agencies on Wednesday announced that anyone who had travelled to a Zika-risk area would be ineligible to give blood for three weeks upon their return.

The 21-day waiting period also applies to cord blood and stem cell donors who have travelled to Zika-affected areas.

In Britain, the National Health Service Blood and Transplant agency has said that from Thursday, anyone returning from Zika-affected countries would be made to wait 28 days before being allowed to donate blood, as a "precautionary measure".



Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...