Approximately one year ago, there were twenty-three countries reporting Zika virus infections. Today, there are as many as seventy-five nations showing evidence of the Zika virus. As the number of reports of infections increase, as well as the measures taken to prevent them, the world is wondering – are we winning the battle against the virus and what can we do to minimize the damage? And has the government done enough to assist in the U.S. Zika battle?
What Are the Symptoms of Zika?
The Zika virus is spread mainly by being bitten by an infected mosquito. Symptoms include skin rashes, joint and muscle pain, fever, red eyes, and headache, all which generally lasts less than seven days. If these symptoms occur, it is important to see a doctor quickly to rule out the possibility of Zika.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Congress granted the CDC (The Center for Disease Control) a much needed $184 million to help fight the virus which was – and still is – spreading across the United States and its territories. The virus first made itself know when it arrived in the United States in July of 2016 in Miami, Florida through infected mosquitoes. From there, it has spread across the continental US and there have been reports of the virus in all 48 states. Only Alaska and Hawaii have been spared.
Are The CDC and Grant Money Working Together?
Although there have been 4,618 total cases reported in the Unites States, almost all of them occurred because of travel; the mosquitoes were transported on clothing, in cars, in luggage, etc. Only a handful of infections in Texas and Florida were spread locally. However, Congress is being aggressive in its response because the money granted to the CDC was just a small portion of the $1.1 billion set aside in September of 2016 to serve a number of purposes including mosquito control, vaccine research, and studying the virus’ effect on infants and pregnant women.
All of this may be working, because there has only been one new Zika case reported in the US within last month. Unfortunately, research is revealing new and different ways that Zika can endanger adults and unborn children. Severe birth defects in the brains of children born to infected mothers include microcephaly and other brain malformations. The World Health Organization has also linked infections in adults to Guillain-Barré syndrome.
Although only one new Zika infection case has been reported recently, many countries around the world continue to struggle with the burden of the disease. For example, Brazil has reported 1,749 cases of babies born with birth defects due to the Zika virus, and have estimated that it will cost the country nearly $4 million per child for life-long assistance – making it just as important as ever to stop this dreadful disease.