Causing a lot of panic around the Americas lately is the Zika Virus disease.
The disease is spread through infected mosquitoes. Symptoms include fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). They last for days after being bitten. The disease isn’t deadly, and for this reason, people may not know they have been affected by it. One positive thing coming from this is that the bitten person will most likely be protected from other future infections.Transmissions of the virus have been reported in Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, America Samoa and most recently, Pennsylvania. With this hitting close to home, national alert has been taken and citizens have been warned not to travel to the South Americas.
The outbreaks started back in 2007 around the Pacific close to Yap in Micronesia and French Polynesia. Along with the south American countries Brazil and Colombia which are most affected. “In my opinion, the way the CDC is handling the spread of the Zika Virus is too careless. They waited too long to start efforts of control and treatment, and it is becoming out of control in a very dense population,” said Hope Wilson (’17).
The most noticeable effect of the virus is when a mother passes it on to her child which happens if the mother is infected near the time of delivery. This makes an infants brain develop much smaller than normal. This can cause cause mental delays in a child and many other things.
Marcelo Castro, the minister of health from Brazil stated that the Zika virus has gone from being an epidemic to an endemic. Brazil is the country hit hardest by this disease. It is of serious concern is that this will permanently leave a mark on the nation’s ecology.
According to foreignpolicy.com, the Zika virus is here to stay if a cure or vaccine isn’t developed fast. The virus is spread by mosquitoes infected with the disease, but a person already infected can pass it on to other people by sexual contact and blood transfusions according to the CDC, which stands for Centers for Disease Control.
Rather than alarm ourselves, the best we can do for now is stay informed. With no cure or vaccine developed yet, there’s nothing we can do except wait and take precautions.