Brazil: Petition to the Supreme Court 24 August
+ Updates on Zika

30 August 2016


PRESS RELEASE, 24 August 2016: Supported by ANIS, ANADEP files petition to the Brazilian Supreme Court for protection of rights violated during the Zika virus public health emergency
A judicial constitutional review was filed before the Brazilian Supreme Court on 24 August, to demand the protection of rights violated in the context of the Zika virus epidemic in Brazil. Coordinated by Anis – Institute of Bioethics, and filed by the National Association of Public Defenders (ANADEP), the lawsuit was the result of a collective effort of a broad group of researchers, activists, and lawyers to articulate the demands of women and children affected by Zika.
Six months after the World Health Organization declared an international public health emergency due to the neurological disorders caused by the virus, families affected by the Zika virus congenital syndrome still have not received support due to omissions on the part of the Brazilian government. The petition makes demands on behalf of women and children already affected by Zika, for adolescents and women of reproductive age, and for pregnant women infected with the Zika virus and experiencing psychic suffering.

The lawsuit is based on a belief: science does not provide us with all the answers we would like to have to face the Zika epidemic, but it is the State's duty to guarantee the rights of women and children. Although there is no vaccine for Zika nor cure for the neurological syndrome, our constitutional framework provides answers for all other demands in the form of the rights to non-discrimination, health, and social assistance.

This lawsuit joins the effort to recognize the effects of this public health emergency in the most vulnerable population of the Brazilian northeast. Other actions taken by Anis to center the voices of women living in the epicenter of the epidemic include a documentary 
Zika: un documental; a video campaign called Women of Epidemic, and most recently, a book Zika: do Sertão nordestino à ameaça global (Zika: from Northeast Back Country to Global Threat), by Debora Diniz. It tells the recent history of the epidemic from the point of view of its “sertanejo” (back country) protagonists...





I’m an obstetrician-gynecologist treating women with Zika: this is what it’s like

by Christine Curry, Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Miami, Florida, USA

Physicians like me are learning about Zika along with our patients. This takes a dose of humility on our part and an understanding from our patients that we learn something new every single day.

As a medical student, I remember reading books about the early days of the HIV epidemic and wondering what it was like for doctors to take care of patients who had a new, unknown disease. It seemed to me it would be frightening for both patients and doctors alike. I didn’t expect that early in my career as an OB-GYN, I would be caught in the middle of another new disease outbreak...





Zika virus epidemic: Africa should not be neglected
by Nicolas Meda, Sara Salinas, Thérèse Kagoné, Yannick Simonin, Philippe Van de Perre

Lancet Correspondence 388(10042):337–338. 23–29 July 2016

The Zika virus was first isolated in Uganda in 1947. Despite the recent severe outbreak of Zika virus in Cape Verde, with 7,557 suspected cases between Oct 21, 2015, and May 8, 2016, very little attention has been paid to the African continent for participation in Zika virus outbreak preparedness programmes.

It is plausible that Zika virus outbreaks occurred in recent years in Africa and remained unnoticed because of the very low capacities for detection of emergent conditions in most of the continent. Surveillance in sentinel populations, increased capacity for laboratory tests and antenatal echography, reporting systems on the emergence of Zika virus-related neurological conditions, intensification of vector control, and education on emerging infectious threats are all of utmost priority in outbreak preparedness programmes...


The first case of female-to-male sexual transmission of the Zika virus reported 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report, 22 July 2016
The first case of female-to-male sexual transmission of the Zika virus has been documented in New York City.
Current guidance to prevent sexual transmission of Zika virus has been based on the assumption that transmission occurs from a male partner to a receptive partner. Ongoing surveillance is needed to determine the risk for transmission of Zika virus infection from a female to her sexual partners.
Persons who want to reduce the risk for sexual transmission of Zika virus should abstain from sex or correctly and consistently use condoms for vaginal, anal, and oral sex, as recommended in the current CDC guidance (5). Guidance on prevention of sexual transmission of Zika virus, including other methods of barrier protection, will be updated as additional information becomes available...


Promising new tools to fight Aedes mosquitoes
Organization, by Andréia Azevedo Soares 2016;94:562–563
Two new tools for suppressing Aedes aegypti mosquito populations have been recommended for pilot testing. Trials are needed to see whether they actually reduce disease as well.

Scientists released 12 000 to 15 000 Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes every week for 20 weeks in this suburb of Rio de Janeiro from September 2014 and repeated this a year later. Wolbachia is a bacterium that stops den­gue, chikungunya and Zika viruses from replicating inside their mosquito vectors. When Wolbachia-infected mosqui­toes mate with wild mosquitoes, they pass Wolbachia on to the next generation. If all goes to plan, most mosquitoes in Tubia­canga and Jurujuba, another neighbour­hood involved in the study, will carry Wolbachia and be unable to transmit the three viruses to humans...


Could clinical symptoms be a predictor of complications in Zika virus infection?
This letter is in response to an article that reviews the literature on whether clinical symptoms of Zika could be a predictor of complications from Zika infection. The authors say they think it seems likely that pregnant women presenting with a combination of rash plus positive RT-PCR results for Zika virus could have higher viraemia than those with seroconversion alone. But they say that further studies are needed to understand the risks of malformations associated with Zika virus infection, which are not restricted to microcephaly.

Lancet 388(10042):338, 23–29 July 2016, by André Ricardo Ribas Freitas, Marcelo Henrique Napimoga, Maria Rita Donalisio
Authors' reply (summary): The Zika virus epidemic in the Americas has been quickly followed by multiple attempts to quantify the association between the infection in pregnant women and microcephaly. It has become difficult to gain a coherent picture from estimates that are often based on different measures, in different populations, and with different case definitions. Understanding the mechanisms that might explain apparent discrepancies is essential to strengthening the risk assessment of Zika virus. Therefore, the correspondence by André Ricardo Ribas Freitas and colleagues is particularly timely…

Lancet 388(10042):338-339, 23–29 July 2016, by Simon Cauchemez et al.




90% of pregnant women want to be tested to know if they have Zika and 
70% ask for an ultrasound
Agencia Patricia Galvao Brazil

Requests for abortion in Latin America related to concern about Zika virus exposure
This article examines data on requests for abortion pills through Women on Web between 1 January 2010 and 2 March 2016 in 19 Latin American countries to assess whether requests for abortion increased after an alert by the Pan American Health Organization on 17 November 2015 was also announced at country level, as compared with pre-announcement trends. In the 7 Latin American countries that issued warnings to pregnant women about complications associated with Zika virus infection (Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, Ecuador, Honduras, Jamaica and Venezuela) requests for abortion through Women on Web increased significantly. In 11 other countries in the region, no significant increase was seen...

New England Journal of Medicine by Abigail RA Aiken et al. 2016;375:396-398 28 July 2016 
DOI: 10.1056/NEJMc1605389


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