The outbreak of Zika virus in Latin America could pose a health threat that surpasses the threat posed by Ebola. The Ebola epidemic resulted in the death of more than 11,000 Africans.
That is a claim that several top health experts have stated ahead of a World Health Organization emergency meeting on 1st Feb 2016. The meeting is meant to assess whether Zika is a threat.
As at the moment, there isn’t a prospect vaccine for Zika, unlike Ebola, which has quite a number under trial. That is caused by the complexity of the matter. The disease affects the pregnant women, a highly vulnerable group. It leads to foetal deformation. You can imagine how tough it is to develop a vaccine that will have to be tested on this group.
Tracking this disease is tough as a result of its symptomless behavior. Almost 80% of those infected show no symptoms.
There are some factors that are facilitating this disease. It is spread by a mosquito species called the Aedes aegypti. The species has been increasing over time. Also, the fact that the Zika virus loves the tropical belt of the planet is a facilitating factor. This zone is increasing due to global warming. That calls for the need to evaluate the environmental threats that DDT pose when used to kill the Aedes aegypti, and the health challenges that the virus has. The under-developed and poor north-east region of Brazil has had a major hit.
The disease has a significant impact on the health of the infants. The babies get deformed before they are born. The alarm level of this disease is very high. There has been an increase in many babies being born with unborn babies. The disease is linked to microcephaly, a condition that results in lifelong development problems.
Containing the disease will involve making very hard choices. The decision as to whether to use DDT or not to use it will require a high level of consultation.
In a bid for some governments to control the disease, they have advised the pregnant women not to visit the affected areas. So far no vaccine has been found that can cure the Zika virus.
The scientists are yet to determine the relationship between Zika virus, neurological syndromes and birth malformation. Once this has been done, it will play a significant role in establishing the cure for the disease.
There have been several possible links that have been constantly changing. In some cases, the threat has been mild, while in others, it has been in alarming proportions. As microcephaly condition increases, a heartbreaking burden on communities and families also increase.
It is estimated that Brazil has one million Zika infections as per now. Beginning from November alone, the country has recorded close to 4000 microcephaly cases in babies.
Earlier on we have explained that north-east of Brazil has been the most affected region. Rod de Janeiro should be taken into consideration remembering that it the city will host Olympic Games during this summer.