The Zika Virus: KeepingUInformed at natswritings.com or nataliekeshing.com
I grew up around mosquitoes since I was probably 2 years old. My grandmother’s property was perched high on a mountain overlooking the north where the river was running. Most of the people in this tiny village also had a clean stream of water that was used to irrigate everyone’s vegetable gardens and fruit trees.
Of course, I remember being bitten by mosquitoes because of the itching that came with each bite. They had the strength to penetrate through your skin and draw blood. That seems quite a feat for such a bothersome and tiny insect. Being bitten more than a handful could drive you stark crazy, itching till your skins was raw and bleeding.
Today mosquitoes present a greater danger to the population, a lot of them are carrying the Zika virus. The Zika Virus has now spread globally. Public health officials are warning those who are planning to attend the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The potential for those who attend and congregate in stadiums, bars, outdoors could more than likely be bitten by a mosquito carrying the Zika Virus.
Here are the facts the Zika Virus is extremely dangerous to a pregnant woman and I believe woman who are still in their child bearing years planning to have a family later in their life. The medical scientists have yet to determine whether the virus stays in the body; permanently.
During pregnancy the Zika virus infection can cause a serious birth defect called microcephaly, as well as other severe fetal brain defects. Potentially, this virus can affect hundreds of thousands babies born causing severe birth defeats throughout the world. An insurmountable problem to society as a whole. No parent wants to expose their child to numerous birth defects. Parents who have had to take care of their children with birth detects understand the added responsibility to help their children in special circumstances. The other danger, men who are bitten by a mosquito with the Zika virus have the potential to transmit the virus to a woman through sexual intercourse, another worry for prevention. The Zika Virus can not only cause devastating birth defects in fetuses, it potentially can lead to neurological problems in adults.
Yesterday one of the news programs indicated that Rio de Janeiro is not only a place of mosquitoes carrying the Zika Virus but, there is also a very high rate of crime in the city and has become a serious problem to the police departments. With this fact, there is also the risk of being a victim of high crime. There is also the risk of ISIS followers entering into the country and committing more harm and murderous acts.
It seems that global issues are affecting our enjoyment for life’s wonderful experiences. That is what pervasive and ubiquitous global issues present to the health and safety of people throughout this world.
A Canadian law professor, writing in the Harvard Public Health Review, called for moving or delaying the Rio Olympics this year because of the risks the virus poses. Now many athletes are considering dropping out of the games due to the seriousness of these warnings. Delaying the Rio Olympics wouldn’t be a better alternative because in the fall months there is more rain leading to more mosquitoes.
Where the Olympics will take place is far from the epicenter of the Zika outbreak in northeastern Brazil (where more than 90 percent of confirmed Zika cases originated). People who are traveling to the Olympics will spend most of their time in Olympic venues that have already been treated with insecticide to control mosquito breaking.
“For Brazil, the country that’s been the seat of much of the outbreak, to host an event as large and global as the Olympics has caused much concern. Senators recently wrote to the U.S. Olympic Committee wanting to know how it plans to protect athletes (it’s working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on that). South Korea’s team will be wearing special mosquito-proof uniforms.”
The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) in their assessment said there is “very low or no risk” to the Olympic travelers.
When the World Cup was held in Rio on July 2014, dengue, another mosquito-born virus transmitted by mosquitoes. Brazil has one of the highest rates of dengue infection in the world. Reports said out of the million foreign tourists who went to Brazil for the tournament, only three contracted dengue in the Belo Horizonte, a city that is 300 miles north of Rio. Researches are comparing the spread patterns of the dengue virus to Zika Virus. The worst case scenario is 3.2 Zika infections per 100,000 tourists. The likely scenario will affect 1.8 people per million tourists.
So here are the facts, the warnings, and the risks according to the research scientists.
It’s really taking a risk if you go there to attend the Olympics, but according to the estimated pattern research it is a minimal risk. At this point, I would say each individual has to decide on their personal choice. The questions is how much risk is too much?
There are a number of doctors and health professionals that have raised the issue that the Olympics should be cancelled or postponed due to Zika based on 1) the Olympics could spread the disease worldwide more rapidly and 2) Risk to athletes and visitors. Along with this there are group of 200 doctors, bioethicists, and public healthy specialists who say no one should be going.
Some neurological complications have noted to cause temporary paralysis, and inflammations of the brain and spinal cord linked to the virus.
The real fear and possibility is that travelers will bring the virus home, either in their bodies or in the bodies of mosquitoes stowaways, YES your luggage or hand bag or another place they can attach themselves to go along for the ride. Mosquitoes traveling on airplanes waiting for the their destination to populate. This potentially can be even a higher risk. It’s safe to say that there are a number of risks, traveling to Rio for the Olympics has its definite drawbacks.
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©Natalie Keshing, Editor-in-Chief natswritings.com nataliekeshing.com