I spent the morning reading about the Zika virus, considered among the lightest viral diseases, the others two nasty ones are dengue and the vicious chikungunya. I learned that Zika’s #1 patient was a Nigerian in 1968, but the virus was identified much earlier, in Rhesus monkeys, in 1947. Sporadic outbreaks were reported in French Polynesia, and in South Africa, and other tropical places around the globe in the past 60 years but then in May of 2015, Zika popped up Brazil. In December it was pronounced an outbreak, and the Brazilian health authorities “have temporally associated the transmission of the virus in some settings, to a significant rise in babies born with microcephaly, and Guillain- Barre Syndrome.” They reported about 2,400 suspect cases in Brazil, but oddly enough microcephaly and Guillain- Barre Syndrome were never declared on the rise in any other places where Zika virus transmission occured. Many questions about this potential link between microcephaly and Zika remain unanswered and that is why it is safe to say that there MAY be ANOTHER underlying reason for the increase of babies with microcephaly in Brazil, perhaps it’s not Zika at all, moreover if you read the World Health Organization report you will see that they warned us against the virus but they did not impose ANY travel restrictions nor any emergency measures. Relax, this is not an international health crisis, don’t panic, just reach for the bug spray and continue to practice good public health measures.
So what’s happening? It is totally possibly that because it took the World Health Organization five months to organize the fight against the deadly Ebola virus, for which they received buckets of criticism, they now do not wish to dillydally. A week into the announcement of the Zika virus transmission outbreak, they are scaring us all into spraying, and cleaning up the clutter, but not really doing anything more drastic about it. This is what they say:
- There should be no restrictions on travel or trade with countries, areas and/or territories with Zika virus transmission.
- Travelers to areas with Zika virus transmission should be provided with up to date advice on potential risks and appropriate measures to reduce the possibility of exposure to mosquito bites.
- Standard WHO recommendations regarding disinfection of aircraft and airports should be implemented.
Which means business as usual!
Just compare the level of reaction this time, to all the other times. How we covered our mouths and noses for fear of SARS, how we slaughtered all cows in England because of Mad Cow disease, how all pigs were killed in Mexico in honor of Swine Flu, how all turkeys were sacrificed in Canada because of Avian flu; we even prevented a cruise ship from entering the port of Oranjestad because of 2 passengers with symptoms, but that was a while ago and I forgot why. Why did we do all that?
So please don’t worry your pretty heads, just take reasonable precautions and spray against mosquitoes which you should be doing anyway.