The Zika virus outbreak, which has been linked to cases to microcephaly birth defects in babies, has been debated by Environment Committee MEPs and World health Organization (WHO) experts on 17 february. On 1 February, the WHO declared the outbreak to be a public health emergency of international concern. The EU, for its part, has activated its early warning and response system for medical emergencies.
So far twelve EU countries have advised pregnant women to delay travelling to Zika-affected areas. These countries are Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia and the UK. While there is no evidence to date of transmission of Zika virus within Europe and “imported” cases are rare, there is currently no specific treatment or vaccine for the virus.