Suffer the People: Zika Virus
|Brazil, one of the biggest countries in South America sits nearly in the center. It borders several countries. Unlike its neighbours, Brazil is a Portuguese speaking country and is not considered to be a Latin American country.|
The Americas not only has to deal with a changing climate and local problems in its own countries, it now has to stay clear of a new, fast spreading virus. The Zika Virus which has no known cure and is spread via a specific kind of mosquito, has now spread across Americas to Russia. Zika was said to begin in Brazil than jumped borders several months later. Unlike Ebola or other epidemic viruses, people do not show immediate symptoms of Zika on first contact. There are no paralysing fevers or long waits at the hospital. It is only after a few days do people show signs such as skin rashes and fevers. While some fevers and aches require hospitalization, the Zika symptoms could be easily dismissed as another mosquito borne virus.
Although the fear of another unwanted virus pandemic is new, the Zika virus itself is old. The virus was first discovered in 1947 in Uganda through a medical experiment (while conducting research on yellow fever) by scientists in the Zika forest from where the virus gets its name. Zika in the Luganda language means "overgrown," which fits the reaction mainstream media and health officials. Only two Ugandans are known to have died from the virus over the past 70 years. The mosquito (Aedes Aegypti) that carries the virus generally do not attack humans. Instead, the mosquitoes have infected monkeys in the Zika forest. So, most Ugandans have been spared from a similar birth defects, virus outbreak or panic. Even residents who lived in Uganda's capital Kampala and other rural areas around the country had not known much about the Zika Forest which is more of a wooded area than a forest. Ugandans are not concerned about nor will there be a Zika outbreak occurring in Uganda any time soon.
Olympic fears of a zombie like pandemic
With the 2016 Olympics coming up in Rio de Janiero this summer, many countries around the world are nervously anticipating the virus' reduction before the games. The World Health Organization has assured the IOC and the wider world that the virus would not halt the Olympics. Brazilian health authorities and workers have been working around the clock to fumigate and sterilize public buildings, housing, stadiums and clean up the polluted waters around and in Rio De Janeiro. The city's pollution problems and health affects existed decades before the current health scares. The city was already working on reducing pollution and promoting a green friendly city. Although the virus began in Northern Brazil, Rio authorities have been spraying every corner of the city including cemeteries. .
CCTV News on Rio Olympics not being affected by Zika
Sad part of Zika, is that it affects pregnant women and new born babies. Few babies born in Brazil and El Salvador are being born with birth defects via their mothers who are unconsciously affected by the silent Zika. The most glaring defect is babies suffering from deformed and smaller heads at birth or microcephaly. Brazil has seen 4,000 newborns with deformed heads across the country. The defects have terrified El Salvador to the point that the Ministry of Health warned Salvadorian mothers not to have children in the next two years. Assuming the virus disappears or a cure is discovered. The first outbreak of Zika was reported several years ago in Brazil and wasn't noticed by the rest of the world. Since the Ebola outbreak West Africa which recently ended than reappeared in Sierra Leone, countries worldwide have taken any reports of even the smallest outbreaks seriously. The world's tropical regions and semi tropical countries have been stereotyped as unforgiving chaotic places that are forever dangerous to one's health. Even though the majority of the world's people live outside Europe and European settler societies. With the new outbreak, Central and South America are being viewed by American media as the bogeyman of weak public health.
Why is the Zika virus pummelling Brazil and its neighbours? Is all about climate and mosquito are is there more? Why is it that the worst virus outbreaks are happening in the Americas as we have seen with Ebola in West Africa?