The lack of scientific knowledge of the Zika virus and its impacts are similar to HIV in the early 1980s, warned the director of the Oswaldo Cruz Institute in Rio de Janeiro, Wilson Savino, on Wednesday.
“Back then, the scientific and medical community did not know what was going on until many people had died and considerable research had been undertaken,” Savino told The Guardian.
Meanwhile, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff is expected to address the Brazilian public Wednesday via national radio and television outlets in efforts to inform the public about preventative measures against the spread of the Zika Virus.
Brazilian cabinet chief Jaques Wagner said on Monday that the purpose of Dilma's speech is to inform people that the only "vaccine" against the mosquito is to eradicate mosquito breeding grounds. Currently, there is no vaccine to prevent, or medicine to treat the disease spread by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito.
“This is a major health incident in the history of Brazil. We face a very serious problem for which scientific knowledge is far from sufficient. The scientific community has the responsibility to discover as much as possible as rapidly as possible,” Savino said.
The Ministers of Health of MERCOSUR countries will meet today in Montevideo, Uruguay, for an emergency meeting to analyze the possible responses to the Zika virus.
The Pan-American health Organization said the virus has since spread to 24 countries and territories in the hemisphere.
WATCH: World Health Organisation on Zika Virus