Issues in America

Today we are celebrating the 4th of July here in America, and it is a happy day. We were just talking today and saying how lucky we are that when we hear the sounds of fireworks here, we know this is just entertainment, and nothing is actually blowing up around us (hopefully), whereas in many countries and areas of the world this is not the case, and any sounds actually represent true dangers. With that in mind, there are still a lot of issues that the Humanity faces today, whether this is prevalent in developed countries or developing countries. One such problem is the Zika virus – I wanted to write a post today about Zika in the news.

Here where we live this virus is just something we read about in papers for now. Even though our house pretty much overlooks a swampy area, somehow we don’t have any mosquitoes here at all, I don’t know why. And that is a good thing. That means to me, even if Zika comes here at some point, it might not be that much of an issue for us. Still, with the Zika virus prevalent in many parts of the world, in the light of the Olympic Games coming up, and the dangers that people might face going to Brazil, and other countries where Zika is very common now, I decided to research this topic and write up a blog post about Zika.

In the US Zika has become more or less widely spread now in a lot of states. In Georgia, according to this article, Zika mosquitoes are everywhere now – and that is very dangerous, as we know, primarily for pregnant women. Read more… This presents a problem for regular people, but also for the governmental agencies fighting the spread of this infection. No matter what government it is in what country, a problem of this importance presents a serious challenge for the health officials – you just can’t have this type of an infection and birth defects going on in the public and overlook it.

Reaction of governments to Zika

So, what is the government to do? Obviously, in every country the government is hopefully looking for funds to resolve the problem, support research to find a vaccine and treatment options for those affected or who may become affected. How do you do this? You have to have lots of money, to start. In the USA, despite Obama’s efforts to start fighting Zika epidemic, the Congress hasn’t approved the spending bill yet. There have been more than 1600 birth defects reported in Brazil that have been blamed on Zika, and the WHO only raised $7.9 million for this fight. According to this article, even the Olympic torch relay race has had a bigger budget that the WHO has had to fight Zika over the past two years.

So, what is stopping the governments from helping the world fight this illness? Why are we seeing this inaction? How can we impact this? All these are questions that bother me, personally.

Maybe, Zika virus is not an issue

While a lot of people wouldn’t worry about it if they are not women of child-bearing age, it should not be a point of who this concerns and who this does not concern. Some say that Zika is not a concern at all for the US as the mosquito and population density is not the same here as it is in some other countries (Source). Is this the way we should be – not my problem – I don’t care? As a human race, is this how we are going to look at issues?

Zika outbreak infographic

Even so, if we are not personally going to be affected, maybe our friends and their children will, why not find a strategy to fight this problem now, and not wait until later when it is too late?

I am reading the science news daily, and I notice that there are Zika updates happening in the world every single day. I notice that there is quite a bit of research going on already studying the cases and the ways of finding the cure and solutions to help the affected, but wouldn’t it have been better if we could see more money going into this research, more grants, and more development of cures that we need?

Zika in the News – What research on Zika shows

A lot of the research that I have read recently shows the strong connection of birth defects to the Zika virus. From a wild guess, this has become a strong argument. The biggest issue is microcephaly that newborns have for those mothers that have been exposed to the virus. These babies’ brain is affected due to the fact that the virus crosses the placenta, and infects fetal brain cells. What a horror story!

It would be too easy, probably, for scientists to find all newborns, babies and fetuses with microcephaly, find a cure for them, and be good to go. Of course, this Zika virus is a lot more complicated. The Lancet came up with a study where babies with microcephaly were screened, but it showed that other brain abnormalities should also be included as screening criteria. Some babies may have no microcephaly but be born with brain damage. Here is some more about this study – read more.

Zika on molecular level

How to protect yourself from Zika and how to find out if you have Zika

The best way to prevent Zika consequences right now is not to get pregnant. This virus is still being researched, and we don’t know exactly how to avoid it, find it, treat it or cure it. The consequences from this infection can be devastating for the families affected and the health care system in general. Zika is in the news every day now, and I wanted to write about what I have found today.

What scientists are also working on right now is creating a test for Zika to quickly help test for it. The cost of the test is reported to be $2 which is quite affordable for us here, and hopefully affordable for the developing countries as well. Read more… Even more tests are being developed to be able to quickly inform those affected. These blood and urine tests for testing for Zika will probably be available shortly, hopefully – Read more…

For the coming Olympic Games, while the Games are not set to be cancelled as of right now, but are going to take place, the authorities report to have signed a contract with repellent producers to calm down the fears in public a bit, and help combat potential mosquitoes. Read more…

A lot more needs to be researched and done to stop Zika

One of the main reasons for my post is to raise awareness of the issue, discuss the latest news I have found about Zika, and encourage the authorities to step up the efforts to combat it. I have a lot of social media power as a blogger, and I hope that my voice will be heard loud and clear – we need more funds and research to help families and babies of the future not to suffer due to a simple mosquito bite for the rest of their lives. Let me know in comments what you think about Zika, and whether you live in a mosquito-affected area. How are you planning to stay safe this summer from mosquitoes? Any advice?



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