The Zika virus is "spreading explosively," according to the World Health Organization, which made the declaration this past Thursday.
The mosquito-borne virus is linked to microcephaly, a condition in which babies are born with unusually small heads. It can lead to developmental issues or even death.
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Due to low human immunity, the virus is rapidly spreading, particularly in Central and South America.
We asked what you think: How do we stop the spread of the virus? What kind of threat do you think Zika poses? Is enough being done to prevent it?
You weighed in via CBC Forum, our new attempt to encourage a different kind of conversation on our website. Here are some of the most thought-provoking, insightful comments from the forum discussion.
Please note that usernames are not necessarily the names of commenters. Some comments have been altered to correct spelling and to conform to CBC style. Click on the username to see the comment in the blog format.
Some argued a strong response was needed to tackle the virus.
- "This is definitely something we should all be taking seriously ... no Canadians should be going there and then bringing something horribly contagious back home. In the 1950s, when a child was sick, they actually quarantined the entire house — no one in, no one out. They did that for a reason. So why would we NOT do the same when it's on a massively larger scale?" — Canadiana86
- "I have no answer to the problem but I'm very much against mass fumigation. Putting that into our air will do harm especially to children." — Therese MacDonald
Several offered personal insights on Brazil, one of the countries most heavily affected.
Last week, Brazil's health minister Marcelo Castro was quoted as saying his country's battle to eradicate mosquitoes blamed for spreading the virus is already being lost.
- "This week, Brazil is starting the biggest event in the country, Carnaval. The popular cities receive millions of tourists in the streets with hot weather, high humidity, bad sanitary conditions and lots of drunk people ... the government has bigger issues right now and they are not doing anything to stop zika. They don't even have money to combat the mosquitoes." — Even
- "I am Canadian and live in Bahia, Brazil. The threat is real especially [considering] that Brazil does not have the medical facilities in remote regions and the infrastructure necessary to control the spread of the virus." "It will be impossible to eradicate unless huge progress is made in sanitation, education and infrastructure development ...here in the region, Zika is nicknamed 'dengue light.'" — Canada Brazil
Some solutions were suggested.
- "I do not think mosquito repellant is the answer to such a serious problem as Zika, Dengue fever, yellow fever and Malaria. As all of these diseases are caused by the same three variety of mosquitos … I call for eradication of these three types of mosquitos. We have put many, many animals into extinction. Let's us put these three types of mosquitos into extinction as well." — CADPOV
- "Take all preventative measures, but this is only a start. Offer to facilitate early testing of all pregnant women in at the target areas. Offer abortion services where appropriate. This may be considered draconian but is probably necessary." — James Young