Zika Mosquitoes’ Habitats May Foil US Elimination Efforts

 

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All of us would have definitely heard about the Zika virus, a fast-spreading virus which is the mastermind of many cases of microcephaly severe birth defects and unusual permanent head damages, mostly happening in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Unfortunately, the virus is going to spread faster than many of us might imagine. It has been predicted by health experts that as the country gets progressively hotter over the months, it would make it easier for the Zika virus to spread to the United States. Many officials and experts are working hard to eradicate the virus through means such as fogging, however, since the Aedes aegypti mosquito is able to hide in our daily appliances such as our beds and closets, fogging might not be effective in preventing the spread of the mosquitos and pesticides would have to be sprayed at the hiding places of the mosquitos.

The Zika virus outbreak has already affected over 25 countries and territories. Thus, travellers who have travelled to affected countries and been stung by the mosquitos, would actually carry the virus back and there might be the possibility of transmission. There has been one reported case of transmission within the United States, but as many more travellers return to the country, the numbers would soar much higher than what it is now, at around 30. The virus could even affect up to 4 million people in the United States of America, mostly in coastal areas such as Texas

Although the situation seems grim, the United States is still going to try to prevent the outbreak from knocking at their doorstep. The mosquitos carrying the virus feed in the day and mostly breed in impoverished areas such as garbage-filled dumps, water filled areas. Therefore, even though it may not be possible to totally remove these mosquitos from the world, officials and health experts are still trying to limit it to keep infection small when it does happen. Some other measures which they have come up with would be removing of potential breeding habitats, but without the help of everyone in the community, it would be less possible for it to be effective in the eradication of the mosquitos which also carry other diseases such as dengue and chikungunya. Better options for solutions would have to be further identified, with the adapting mosquitos.

Hence, never let your guard down, even if it is a small mosquito bite!

Renee Ong (2J)

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