(P1) The Brazilian state of Pernambuco has declared a STATE OF EMERGENCY over an OUTBREAK of Zika fever.

(P2) The MOSQUITO-BORNE DISEASE from Africa has been linked to a SPIKE in BIRTH DEFECTS across the country.

(P3) Pernambuco has around two thirds of the cases of micro-encephalitis – an INFLAMMATION of the FETAL brain that can STUNT growth of the baby’s head.

(P4) A World Health Organization team is due in Brazil this week.

(P5) On Saturday, the Brazilian health MINISTRY said the link between Zika and birth defects was UNPRECEDENTED anywhere in the world.

(P6) The ministry said doctors had found Zika virus in the blood and tissue of a baby with the disease in the north-eastern state of Ceara.

(P7) It said it had recorded two adult deaths and 1,248 cases of micro-encephalitis this year – an eight-FOLD increase on last year’s numbers.

(P8) Most cases of micro-encephalitis have occurred in the north-east of Brazil but cases also rapidly appeared in the south-east, including the states of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.

(P9) The Zika virus was first DETECTED in Brazil in April and has spread to 13 states.

(P10) It appears RELATIVELY HARMLESS at first, causing a RASH and a fever for a few days.

(P11) But ministry officials have issued warnings to women to think carefully about getting PREGNANT at the moment in areas where there are Zika fever cases.

(P12) Zika is TRANSMITTED by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, also known to carry the yellow fever, dengue, and chikungunya viruses.

(P13) The AUTHORITIES in Pernambuco say the state of emergency will allow for more staff to be RECRUITED quickly to start a large DOOR-TO-DOOR public education campaign on the dangers of mosquitoes.

(P14) Brazil’s ministry of health says Zika has become a serious risk to public health and that Brazil must EMBARK ON an emergency programme to control mosquitoes to prevent the virus’s spread.

WORDS: 310



If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly summarize the content of the article in yourown words.
  2. Mosquitoes carry many illnesses that can be dangerous to humans. Are mosquitoes common in your country? Are there concerns about any of those diseases?
  3. Have you ever been bitten by a mosquito or other insect, or stung by a bee or WASP?
  4. What VACCINATIONS against diseases have you received?
  5. Do you use INSECT REPELLENT when going on visits to wild or RURAL areas, or when it is very hot and HUMID in your city?


What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.

  • Mosquito-borne disease
  • State of emergency
  • Birth defect
  • Door-to-door
  • Embark on
  • Insect repellent



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