Zero Zika risk to Denmark, says University of Aarhus professor

Lars Jørgen Østergaard believes that the Zika virus will be a world health issue, but that Danes have nothing to fear

Be glad that this beast hates the cold (photo: James Gathany) Be glad that this beast hates the cold (photo: James Gathany)
January 29th, 2016 5:21 pm| by Ray W
facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmail

According to Lars Jørgen Østergaard, a professor of infectious diseases at the University of Aarhus, the Zika virus is likely to spread very quickly in Latin America, but the risk of there being an outbreak in Denmark is virtually zero.

Spread by mosquitoes in countries with much warmer climates than Denmark, “the risk is incredibly small”, Østergaard told Ekstra Bladet.

“On a scale of zero to ten, the risk of an outbreak in Denmark is zero,” he added.


Millions at risk
The international health organisation WHO fears millions could be infected with the virus in Latin America, and that there could be a further rise in the number of microcephaly cases in which babies are born with under-developed heads.

“The latest figures show that hundreds of new cases of newborns with birth defects have appeared within the last few weeks,” said Østergaard. “The increase is probably due to an outbreak of Zika.”

The virus has spread in recent weeks from South America to Central America and is now threatening the southern states of the US.

The virus is spread by mosquitoes, specifically the Aedes mosquito, which is why WHO fears that 3-4 million people worldwide could be affected by the disease in warm places where the mosquito is prevalent.

Østergaard compared the potential for a Zika pandemic to the recent Ebola outbreak.