Assuming you have been following Zika virus news in the past couple of weeks, it might be hard for you to believe that this particular virus originated in a country called Uganda. It was first isolated in 1947.
Since then, the virus has clawed and fought its way through the Pacific Ocean and now has reached pandemic levels in America.
A Recent study has shown that most of the Cases have quadrupled in New York City alone and that too, counting only the cases since May.
Now, we are left in a situation where we simply have to accept that the number of Zika virus cases, in New York City at least, is climbing.
NYC health reports came out with a figure of confirmed 310 cases.
Not only that, New York times reported 233 cases on June 6th and that was a figure that had jumped from a meager 78, as documented, in May of this year.
A senator in the US Congress has recently urged the Congress to bring into effect a, what many considered to be a flawed bill to combat the fast-spreading Zika virus.
The bill will cost around $1.9 billion and is being advertised in strongly positive terms as an emergency funding bill.
Needless to say, the bill aims to combat the Ugandan origin virus. A virus that has wreaked havoc on New York City in recent months.
Congress is about to go on a long summer break which will end sometime in September (don’t they have enough holidays already.) but the “clever” virus has shown little signs of slowing down.
The bill that was presented proposed $400 million spending on programs that would help retard the spread of the virus.
Some in the White House consider the bill to be four months too late.
The rest, $600 million, would come from cuts made to other federal programs. Democrats, expectedly, blocked these proposals last month.
The strange part is that the bill actually presents a plan that requires billions to be spent on mosquito control programs, diagnostic improvements, and vaccines.
Along with that it also prevents additional funds for specific Planned Parenthood services.
CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) has stated, numerous times, that Zika can be transmitted through intimate relations and that a man is capable of transferring the virus to his relevant partner.
The CDC has also said that contraceptive devices can prevent the spread of the virus.
Nevertheless, the bill that was proposed also does not support $50 million requested funds for maternal and child health for the poor people and people who are at the most risk of contracting the virus.
It is true that Zika virus’s initial symptoms are not that harsh but people have reported of experiencing mild illness symptoms.
Amongst the general population, those who are pregnant are at a risk of contracting another disease known as microcephaly.
Microcephaly is a condition that devastates the infected individual as the children born afterward usually have severe brain damage.
The newborns have also been reported to have abnormally small heads.
In the case of New York City, 36 of the 310 people who were infected with the fast spreading virus were pregnant at the time when they were diagnosed with the virus
Zika virus is primarily transmitted by four means, which are (in no particular order),
- Sexual intercourse
- Blood transfusion
The virus is mostly spread by the female mosquito that is active mostly during the daylight hours.
The mosquitos have to feed on some blood in order to lay eggs.
The reason scientists give for the spread of this virus from a relatively unknown virus in Uganda to places such as the Americas is globalization and urbanization.
The most common carrier of the virus, amongst the mosquito species, is A.aegypti and it has been observed that its distribution throughout the world is expanding primarily because of global trade and travel.
Rising global temperatures have also been cited as the reasons why the virus has spread in the infected continents so quickly and why it has adapted to the local weather temperatures in such a short amount of time.
Transmission through blood transfusions have been less thoroughly studied as, to date, there have been about two to three cases of Zika virus transmission during blood transfusions.
The early cases were recorded from Brazil as a result of which US FDA (Food and Drug Administration) required screening of blood donors before actual donation.
According to the CDC, until July 6th, none of the infections caused by the virus were from local mosquitoes.
All the cases, 1133 to be precise, in the US states were transmitted by species that were not local to the US. The CDC also reported that, as of July 6th, only 14 cases were a result of sexual transmission.
Earlier in May this year, WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan said that the spread of the virus to such extreme levels is a direct consequence of the failure of governments around the world to provide universal access to sexual and family planning services.
Dr. Margaret Chan also stated that the virus has affected most severely, those poor nations on earth that have the worst healthcare policies relating to women.
As far as the Unites States of America is concerned, one of the highest numbers of confirmed Zika cases have been reported in New York State and that is a worrying sign on its own. But the virus’s area of infection doesn’t just stop outside New York City.
About 2526 cases have been reported that have their origins outside New York City. Puerto Rico has been infected with 1726 cases which included 191 cases that involved pregnant women.
If we are talking about the American continent, then Brazil reported about 4908 cases of Zika virus that involved microcephaly.
The result of this pandemic on the American continent has been that abortion pill orders have skyrocketed in countries that have been afflicted with the harmful virus.