02132016Sat
Last update: Sat, 13 Feb 2016 03am

South America

World - South America

WHO mulls global health emergency declaration on Zika GENEVA: The World Health Organization's emergency committee will on Monday debate whether a Zika virus outbreak suspected of causing a surge in serious birth defects in South America should be considered a global health emergency.The UN health agency warned last week that the mosquito-borne virus was "spreading explosively" in the Americas, with the region expected to see up to four million cases this year.The WHO is under pressure to act quickly in the fight against Zika, after admitting it was slow to respond to the recent Ebola outbreak that ravaged parts of west Africa.Although the mosquito-borne virus's symptoms are relatively mild, it is believed to be linked to a surge in cases of microcephaly, a devastating condition in which a baby is born with an abnormally small head and brain.While it has yet to be definitely proven that the microcephaly cases are caused in some way by the Zika virus, ...

World - South America

Brazil's Rousseff vows to win Zika 'war' SALVADOR: Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff vowed Friday to "win the war" against the Zika virus, but some experts criticized her government's response and warned the Olympics could fuel the disease's spread.The tropical virus is blamed for cases of brain damage in babies as it sweeps through Latin America, and Rousseff, whose government is deploying 220,000 soldiers to help eradicate the mosquitoes that transmit it, likened the outbreak to a battle."As long as (the mosquitoes) are ...

World - South America

Water crisis increases Zika threat in Venezuela CARACAS: Yurman Torres is standing in line at the foot of Avila mountain, on the edge of Caracas, to fill a large jug with water, a rare commodity in crisis-hit Venezuela.The scarcity of water is just one of a long list of headaches for the struggling South American oil giant, but it comes with a particularly nasty risk.As Venezuelans stockpile water in their homes, health officials warn, they risk fueling an expansion of the mosquito ...

World - South America

Brazil urges joint Zika fight, airlines offer refunds RIO DE JANEIRO: Brazil urged its neighbors to unite in fighting the Zika virus, blamed for a surge in brain-damaged babies, as airlines offered refunds to pregnant mothers afraid to travel to the region.As alarm rose over the latest world health scare, US President Barack Obama called for faster research on the quick-moving virus, which has infected travelers from the United States and Europe.Brazil has been the country hardest hit by the outbreak of the ...

World - South America

Health system crisis is killing Venezuelans CARACAS: Venezuelan opposition lawmakers on Tuesday charged President Nicolas Maduro's government with allowing the country's health care system to sink into decay so severe it has left many to die. The opposition-controlled National Assembly said that blanket shortages of medications and medical supplies affected 90 percent of the population in "the worst crisis in (the system's) history."Lawmakers also said the lack of drugs and supplies was linked to "the deaths of Venezuelans," urging Maduro to ...

World - South America

Colombia issues alert over expanding Zika virus BOGOTA: Colombia issued an alert Tuesday over the Zika virus, which has already infected 13,800 people in the country, as it warned that the number is likely to uptick as the disease spreads.The Ministry of Health advised mayors of towns below a certain elevation to "declare a green alert for public and private hospitals facing a possible increase in Zika cases."All municipalities located below 2,200 meters (7,200 feet) were urged to issue an alert, the ...

World - South America

Explosions near Venezuelan legislature trigger panic CARACAS: Four explosions near the Venezuelan legislature triggered panic Tuesday but caused no injuries or damage.The homemade explosive devices were apparently loaded with pamphlets that were sent flying into the air with propaganda purportedly written by a radical group loyal to late leftist president Hugo Chavez, whose party recently lost the legislature to the opposition.The pamphlets, signed by a group called the Bolivarian Liberation Forces (FBL), criticized the government of Chavez's hand-picked successor, Nicolas Maduro, ...