Major Jump in Zika Outbreak in the Northeast Region of Brazil due to Economic State

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Cases of Zika virus infections have significantly spiked in areas of Brazil within the last year. As of February 2016, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has called for an international state of emergency. The northeast region of Brazil has become a hot-zone for Zika infections. Studies have shown that this roots from unsuitable living conditions and unstable environments. The most popular forms of transmission of Zika is mosquito’s and sexual transmission. Mosquitoes are known to be more attracted to urban areas. The virus has been much more prevalent in South and Central America as well as areas of the Caribbean.

The rise of Zika can be traced back to inadequate environmental factors affected by poverty

Mosquitoes are attracted to areas with open water and it’s been suggested that areas of poverty are more susceptible to attracting the virus. The Guardian has referred to Zika as “the disease of poverty”. Areas within the America’s are experiencing contaminated water, malnutrition, packed population, and unsanitary environmental conditions.

The Washington post reported on what conditions the virus thrives in. According to the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, mosquito habitats are created in regions that consist of “environmental degradation”. Human actions can be influential to the spreading of the virus based on the things we do that impact the environment. That includes but are not limited to urbanization and significant growth of waste, building dams to create reservoirs, deforestation, etc.These things create perfect conditions for disease infected mosquitoes to manifest and continue the spread of the virus.

Zika has been around for many years but we are now worried that it will spread into the United States

Research shows that the virus was first discovered in 1948 within the Zika forest of Uganda in an Aedes mosquito. The virus has a history of spreading continent to continent. In 2007, the travel of the virus caused the first human outbreak in Asia. The Bulletin of the World Health Organization research shows that more than 20 countries in north, south, and central America have revealed cases of infection.

But, should we be concerned about possibility of spread within the United States? The CDC has tracked the number of reported cases within the United States and territories between February and September of 2016. A total of 3,176 in the states and a shocking 17,629 cases reported within US territories. The virus has become much more prevalent in vacation spots for the US such as Puerto Rico, Miami and the Caribbean. The CDC has designated preventative measures to prevent further spread. Those include: the use of repellent to prevent mosquito bites, refrain from areas of infection, if plans are made to travel be well informed on that area, visit a doctor when returning from areas of infection, use protection during sex to prevent pregnancy during possible infection.

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Source: The Chicago Tribune
We can only imagine how the outbreak of the virus is impacting tourism. I would think that there would be a decrease in tourists. According to the Washington Post, Puerto Rico will experience a $28 million loss in 2016 through 2017 due to cancellations. The real question is how likely are people to still travel knowing that there is a large epidemic of infections?

Zika has caused many cases of birth defects in newborn babies due to women being infected during pregnancies

Research done by the CDC in collaboration with Brazil’s Oswaldo Cruz Foundation shows that Zika not only causes birth defects in newborn babies but can also cause damage to the central nervous systems in fetuses and adults. A study from the New England Journal of Medicine tests the manifestations of Zika within pregnant women within the northeast region of Brazil.

It's unfortunate for those women who live in these environments. But, the best preventative measure for women who plan to get pregnant or who are already pregnant is to avoid travel to infected areas.

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