Seeds: The Zika virus first broke in 1947, but was categorized as benign due to the fact that symptoms were reported as mild and relatively harmless besides the unsightliness of red eyes. However, when it recently broke out in Brazil this past year, it has caused devastating effects on the highly populated tropical country. The virus is spread through mosquitos, causing it to spread extremely quickly in tropical climates.
Core: There is no vaccine or treatment yet, and people’s biggest concern is about what effects the virus has on unborn babies. Thus far, more than 4,000 severe cases of microcephaly, a birth defect that causes head shrinkage in newborn babies, causing incomplete brain development, have been linked to the virus. While scientists are still not positive that the Zika Virus directly causes the birth defect, data shows that cases of microcephaly have increased twenty-fold since the virus broke out.
Skin: While the largest outbreaks are concentrated in Brazil, the virus has spread throughout South and Central America, reaching pandemic levels. This has spurred warnings of a global health emergency. Travel warnings have been posted, specifically targeting pregnant women who could pass the virus onto their children. Also, people living in all tropical areas are warned to constantly wear insect deterrent, as repellent is the only defense against the virus.
Leaves: Thirty-one cases have been confirmed in the United States. Reports show they all contracted the virus after traveling. The United State’s main concern is that travelers will be bitten by mosquitoes harboring the Zika virus and return to the United States, infecting others. The US health departments warn citizens about traveling to infected areas and ask for anyone showing symptoms to visit a healthcare professional immediately.
Food For Thought: What do you think about the spread of the Zika Virus? Do you think it could become a global epidemic? Do you think the United States is obligated to send any humanitarian aid to countries who are facing this outbreak? Tell us what you think.
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