Experts set to discuss Qld’s Zika plan

Medical experts are set to gather in Brisbane to ensure Queensland can combat an outbreak of the global Zika virus threat.

There are fears the mosquito-borne virus, linked to thousands of birth defects in Central and South America, could enter the state through its porous northern borders near Papua New Guinea.

Health Minister Cameron Dick says while there is currently no threat, a state prevention response will be discussed at a roundtable discussion on Thursday after the World Health Organisation declared the virus an international health emergency.

‘The challenge for Queensland is we have a very open, porous border as part of our state (in the north),’ he said.

The roundtable meeting will include a Commonwealth health officer, who will help link the state response to an overall national approach.

Queensland’s chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young said there had been 10 diagnosed cases of the virus in the state since 2014, but they had all contracted the virus overseas.

Zika is carried by mosquitoes in tropical and sub-tropical environments, meaning Queensland, the Northern Territory and northern Western Australia could be pathways for the disease.

The disease has spread quickly through the Americas, with many southeast Asian nations also braced for outbreaks.


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