Global attention has turned toward the Zika virus, the mosquito-transmitted disease that is rapidly disseminating across Latin America, has now reached the European continent — Italy, England, Portugal and Spain have confirmed Zika virus cases.
The Negligence Of The Brazilian Government
Brazil is the country that has been hit hardest and is struggling to contain the mosquito-borne dissemination. Health authorities blame the Brazilian government’s slow response and the deep recession that has delayed government efforts to prevent an epidemic, according to the Wall Street Journal.
In Brazil, pregnant women who had their babies affected by Zika virus and, consequently, born with microcephaly — a congenital condition associated with incomplete brain development — are complaining that the government is not giving them the deserved attention and support.
Since it’s a new and therefore an unknown disease, doctors, especially from public hospitals, have been accused of being unprepared, not able to offer much help at all. On the other hand, doctors complain that there is nothing they can do to help them — no extra funds were provided by the Brazilian government to deal with the massive number of infants borne with microcephaly.
With new reports being released both on the spread in terms of nations affected and in the manner in which it is transmitted, it is easy to see how confusion could filter down through communication channels, and without a true diagnosis of how the virus is spreading doctors at almost any hospital will be unprepared.
The Travel Alert List Keeps On Growing
Image Source: Pan American Health Organization
The Fiocruz research institute in Brazil announced an innovation of the Zika virus diagnoses. The new kit can diagnose simultaneous all the three diseases transmitted by the mosquito Aedes aegypti; Zika, Dengue and Chikungunya.
According to the Brazilian Ministry of Health’s website, they obtained 500,000 kits to diagnose the mosquito-borne disease, which will increase from 1,000 to 20,000 diagnose per month. The first 250,000 kits will be given by February. New York city has also made the list; the New York State Department confirmed Friday, Jan. 22, that three people had tested positive to the virus — infected people have lately traveled to South America.
Brazil is now funding research into a vaccine for Zika virus.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have added more countries to the travel alert list — the list has now 22 countries, including South America and also Europe. And the list is most likely growing in the next few weeks as the virus is quickly spreading and being confirmed in different countries.
The fear of the virus is so strong that Colombia advised women to not get pregnant until July.
Zika And The 2016 Rio Olympic Games: Are World Athletes At Risk?
International health analysts believe that Brazilian government has been negligent and its reaction to the virus has been deficient. But now that many countries have issued travel alerts, and with the Olympic games coming up in August, the government seems to be taking it more seriously.
The Rio 2016 Olympic organizing committee issued a statement saying that, 30 days before the competition starts, the Olympic and Paralympic venues will be inspected daily for the Zika virus. However, the Olympic games will take place during the winter season, which has a dry, cool weather that reduces the presence of mosquitoes.
According to BBC Brasil, the British Olympic Association has been training its athletes in how to protect themselves against the mosquito and also informing them about the disease and its consequences.
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