3. Where is the Zika virus now?
As per CDC, the places where Zika virus is transmitted locally includes- Bolivia, Barbados, Brazil, Colombia, Cape Verde, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Honduras, Haiti, Mexico, Martinique, Paraguay, Panama, Puerto Rico, Suriname, Saint Martin, Samoa, Venezuela and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
As many people from the affected area returned to the US, thus the spread of Zika was observed through these travellers. However, there exist the wide possibility of the local spread of Zika virus in U. S through this imported cases which are a big concern for the people and medical professional of U.S. Asian tiger mosquito or Aedes albopictus which is responsible for the transmission of Zika virus along with Aedes aegypti is present in many areas of U.S.
Toronto researchers have created a model which indicate that if mosquitoes present in the US becomes the carriers of Zika virus then in the seasonal warm months more that 63% of U.S population will belong to an area where the Zika virus can spread easily. Whereas only 7% Americans live in the area where the mosquitos are not dead during the winter season and thus the area is not quite safe and possibility of the spread of Zika virus is high.
4. What can you do to protect yourself against Zika?
We all are in a helpless situation as no vaccine o treatment is available for Zika virus. Thus, prevention measure includes avoiding travelling to the affected area where the virus is quite active. CDC suggests the strict adherence to measures for mosquito protection if you travel to the country affected with Zika virus.
An EPA-approved repellent over sunscreen should be regularly used also start wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants with thick clothes to block a mosquito bite. Sleep in screened rooms with air-conditioned and avoid sleeping in the open area.
If you are already infected with Zika, then take good care to ensure that you do not spread the virus around. Make sure that you avoid mosquito bites in 1st week of your illness. The carrier of Zika virus is female Aedes aegypti, which is a very aggressive biter and dusk during the daytime. So, keep your screens on windows nad doors to prevent the entry of this mosquito in the hotel and home rooms.
5. What’s being done to stop Zika?
Recently CDC has encouraged the hotel owners, local homeowners and visitors to countries which are affected with Zika to join the mission to eliminate the standing water and empty the outdoor buckets and flower pots.
At the small amount, this initiative was effective however it is not possible to get rid of all the breeding areas of mosquitoes. Aedes aegypti is highly evolved and can replicate in flower vases or any tiny sources of water. Microbiologist Brian Foy stated that Aedes aegypti is very used too with human and live around them.
The creation of British company Oxitec was a genetically modified male Aedes aegypti OX513A which was generated by prevention efforts. The critics dubbed it as “Robo-Frankenstein mosquito” or “mutant mosquito”. The mosquito was created to stop the spread of Zika as it will pass a gene to the offspring which will make it die. As the females, Aedes aegypti mate only once in theory which will slow down the growth of mosquito population. The OX513A consist of a fluorescent marker, which makes it easy to scientist to track him.
A protest was carried out in 2012 against the trial release of this genetically modified male in Key West, Florida. When this came up as a prevention way to combat the outbreak of dengue in South Florida. The Food and Drug Administration is still reviewing the impact of this effort.
In 2011, Brazil has followed this kind of trial which was reported hugely successful. As per Oxitec statistic around 99% of target popular was eliminated. In 2014, the release of males in Pedra Branca area of Brazil was reported as 92% successful. It was also tested in Malaysia, Cayman Islands and Panama.
Recently the company Oxitec has declared it plans to create an OX513A mosquito production facility at Piracicaba, Brazil which will be able to protect 300,000 residents.
Hope this effort will be fruitful and people will be soon free from the deadly spreading Zika virus.