New Delhi :
After Ebola and Swine Flu, the new outbreak of Zika Virus is scaring the world, so much so that India also fears a pandemic. The virus which is relatively born from mosquito is prompting worldwide concern because of an alarming connection to a neurological birth disorder.
It is transmitted by the aggressive Aedes aegypti mosquito and creates a small-head condition in children.
The virus has now spread to at least 25 countries with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warning pregnant women against travelling to the ‘alert’ areas. Experts believe it's only a matter of time before India becomes its next target The Zika virus.
In fact several health officials have also warned women of not getting pregnant for at least 2 years. They say that it is a pandemic in progress.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health says, "It isn't as if it's turning around and dying out, it's getting worse and worse as the days go by."
It has now been found in 19 people in Puerto Rico and has been linked to a surge in births of babies with abnormally small heads.
Officials have advised pregnant women of not travelling to Latin American and Caribbean countries because of the virus.
According to Puerto Rico’s Health Secretary Ana Rius, “18 new cases of the Zika virus have been detected in the US possession, raising the total to 19 since the Caribbean island’s first case was confirmed last month. So far the virus has not been detected in the continental United States.”
But it is spreading!
In Arkansas, a resident also contracted a mild case of Zika while abroad. Florida, Hawaii and New York have also reported cases in recent weeks of residents who contracted Zika after they traveled to areas impacted by the virus.
The figures have gone up in Brazil where Zika virus infections in pregnant women have been linked to 3,893 births of babies with abnormally small heads.
This condition is known as microcephaly.
The World Health Organisation has warned that the virus could spread rapidly throughout the western hemisphere, except in Chile and Canada, which have no Aedes aegypti mosquitos.
Notably, a similar situation arose in Brazil in 1950s but a massive eradication effort eliminated Aedes aegypti, however, the mosquito slowly returned over the following decades from neighboring nations.
What is Zika?
The virus is a flavivirus, part of the same family as yellow fever, West Nile, chikungunya and dengue. However, it is incurable as there is no vaccine to prevent Zika or medicine to treat the infection.
The problem worsened since November when Brazil saw nearly 4,000 cases of microcephaly in babies born to women who were infected with Zika during their pregnancies.
In 2014, only 146 cases were reported and so far, 46 babies have died.