According to the latest reports, the deadly Zika virus may spread explosively across the Americas and thereby infecting about 4 million cases over the next year. This comes as a warning from the World Health Organization amidst the call for deploying health officials along the Atlantics. The virus was first discovered in 1947. However it was never a threat till the recent outbreak in Brazil.
The mosquito borne virus is linked to an increase in a rare birth defect in Brazil and apparently no cure has been found yet for the disease. The Brazilian President meanwhile has called for a crusade against the carrier mosquitoes. “As long as we don’t have a vaccine against Zika virus, the war must be focused on exterminating the mosquito’s breeding areas,” said President Dilma Rousseff.
The WHO has called a special session in order to convey its concerns regarding the spreading of the disease. Many would-be mothers in the Latin America are caught with the fear of the virus. This is on accounjt of the increasing evidence from Brazil indicating the birth of babies with small heads, a medical condition called microcephaly.
According to WHO director Margaret Chan, it had been less than a year since virus reached the Americas.”The possible links, only recently suspected, have rapidly changed the risk profile of Zika from a mild threat to one of alarming proportions,” Chan said.
Researchers are also looking into a potential tie between Zika infections and cases of Guillain-Barre syndrome, which can cause temporary paralysis. The virus has spread to almost 20 countries, according to the CDC. It is transmitted by the same mosquito that causes dengue and yellow fever.
Back home, India also may not be absolutely safe as earlier thought. According to India Today, India has been free of this virus for over 60 years, and that traces of Zika were last seen in 1952-53.
However, Hindustan Times reported that the Union health ministry is procuring testing kits to detect the virus, which is spread by the bite of the Aedes aegypti mosquito.
“The government is also writing to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to know more about the infection and prepare accordingly,” the report quoted a senior official from the Zoonosis unit of the Union health ministry as saying. Further, the report added that the ministry is putting together protocols to track the ‘sudden rise’ of birth defects across the country.