In light of recent Zika virus outbreak in Singapore and now in Malaysia, are you concerned and how would we go about stopping its spread?

In contrary to popular belief, the Zika virus is not a new entity. It was first isolated in the 1940’s in Uganda and has gone unnoticed under the category of “anthropod-borne viral disease”. But it did not gain much of public attention until recent outbreak in 2015 in Brazil that resulted in fetal developmental defects.

In fact, the Zika virus fever is no stranger to us South-East-Asians. Because the disease is transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes, the very same vector responsible for Dengue fever, Chikungunya fever and Yellow Fever.

This aggressive “Asian Tiger” mosquitoe is a day-time biter and has become extremely adapted to living with human in the vicinity of villages. Water puddles, empty bottles, vehicle tyres, rainwater tanks or any containers capable of collecting even a few drops of water can serve as a perfect breeding ground for these mosquitoes.

The spread of Zika poses a serious public health threat, particularly for pregnant women. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have confirmed its correlation to microcephaly, a congenital defect that can lead to developmental milestone delay and permanent health damage. So far, there is limited information about the virus as to what it can cause and how we can treat.

If we are serious about keeping the families safe, we can’t afford to sit back on this issue. We need to step up mosquito control and annihilation, raise awareness campaigns, organize community cleaning activities on a large scale and provide families with critical health services, including the access to contraception, develop a treatment and vaccine, and ensure that the people are well educated to know how to protect themselves before this issue gets out of hand.

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Brazil Faces New Health Epidemic As Mosquito-Borne Zika Virus Spreads Rapidly

RECIFE, BRAZIL – JANUARY 26: Dr. Angela Rocha (C), pediatric infectologist at Oswaldo Cruz Hospital, examines Ludmilla Hadassa Dias de Vasconcelos (2 months), who has microcephaly, on January 26, 2016 in Recife, Brazil. In the last four months, authorities have recorded close to 4,000 cases in Brazil in which the mosquito-borne Zika virus may have led to microcephaly in infants. The ailment results in an abnormally small head in newborns and is associated with various disorders including decreased brain development. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the Zika virus outbreak is likely to spread throughout nearly all the Americas. At least twelve cases in the United States have now been confirmed by the CDC. Brazil reported the first cases in the Americas of local transmissions of the virus last year. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

microcephaly

A mother holds her daughter who was born with microcephaly EPA/ANTONIO LACERDA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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5 thoughts on “Zika Fever- Just One Bite Away

  1. As you correctly stated the Zika virus was first identified in the 1940’s. What has transpired over the last 65-70 years that has caused this virus to become so threatening? Is it possible that that multiple factors (possibly man made) have contributed to the damage we see today. Originally the Zika virus produced mild symptoms that self resolved. Today we have aggressive pesticide applications, GMO mosquitoes, vaccination practices with with doctors on both sides of the fence. Is it possible the synergistic exposure to various toxins also play a factor resulting in microcephaly? I have not researched this topic well enough to offer a meaningful opinion. I do, however, believe, that disease typically manifests as a result of a multitude of factors; not simply exposure to bacteria and viruses.
    Thank you for bringing attention to this important topic.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for dropping by, Dr.Jonathan. Well one of the possible reasons of recent Zika outbreak might be due to increase in its virulence and proliferation rate, in conjunction with poor hygiene control in rural areas. But as of now there’s still no postulated explanation to why Zika virus causes microcephaly in newborns, perhaps we can only guess that might have to do with epigenetics or the virulence factors itself that impede the developmental growth of these poor babies..

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      • I think the possibility you mentioned (increased virulence) merits further evaluation. One of my concerns is the possibility of man induced causes. Our use of toxic chemicals to combat agricultural damage just might play a factor in viral virulence. Who knows how many other man made practices lead to”species” survival at our own detriment

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