Zika Virus as a Public Health Threat

History of the Condition

The Zika virus was initially discovered in 1947 by the scientists from the Yellow Fever Research Institute. The term “ziika” is a borrowing from the Luganda language that can be translated as “overgrown”. At first, the virus was found in a mosquito from the Zika forest. A few years later, this virus was registered in a human as well.

In 1964, researchers managed to provide empirical evidence of the fact that the Zika virus is the cause of human disease. It was David Simpson who first published an article elucidating the relevant interconnection. In his article, he wrote that “clinical picture of the infection was that of a mild febrile illness of short duration accompanied by a generalized maculopapular rash” (Bushak, 2016, par.7). Therefore, the first symptoms were registered.

Since the point when the virus was first detected in Tanzania, its spread has gone widely beyond this border. Thus, the same virus was also detected in such countries as Indonesia, Pakistan, and India. In most of the cases, it was found in mosquitos.

The first outbreak of human infections took place in 2000 in one of the Caroline Islands. The researchers related the outbreak to the intensive tourist flows traveling by air. The virus continued to spread actively that made the scientists examine it more thoroughly. The epidemic reached its peak in 2015 when the virus spread over Brazil, Australia, and others. The rapid spread is explained by the virus’s ability to mutate. Hence, the World Health Organization (WHO) claims that “virus infection appears to have changed in character while expanding its geographical range” which makes this outbreak more concerning (Bushak, 2016, par.20). It is currently known that the virus leads to numerous associated diseases such as Guillain-Barré syndrome and microcephaly.

Epidemiological Data

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) monitors the epidemic progress regularly. According to PAHO, Brazil shows high incident rates with 58.8 infected residents per 100,000 inhabitants. In 2015, there were 2 related deaths registered with the average age of the dead – 20 years old. High incident rates are also observed in the Dominican Republic with 13 infected residents registered every week (Pan American Health Organization, 2016).

Another point of concern is the high frequency of the registered incident cases in pregnant women. Hence, according to PAHO, these cases might be observed in such countries and territories as Barbados, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, and Panama, to name but a few. Moreover, Panama, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Colombia, and Martinique reported the registration of congenital syndrome related to the virus infection. The same countries also inform about the registration of the associated neurological disorders (Pan American Health Organization, 2016).

The frequency of the registration of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) is likewise concerning. Thus, the rate of the incident case in Brazil has grown significantly since 2008. The Dominican Republic, in its turn, reports 13 GBS cases per week. The major percentage of diseased is women. The average age of the disease in the Domenic Republic is 60 years old. On the whole, there have been 9 deaths registered about GBS in the Dominican Republic (Pan American Health Organization, 2016).

As a result, at the current point, 39 countries and territories have reported the registration of local transmission of Zika virus in 2015. The latest research shows that the epidemic rates do not decline despite all the effort. In the meantime, the spread does not go beyond these 39 countries as well.

Application of the Levels of Prevention

Healthy People Program launched by the Office for Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP) targets a series of goals. First and foremost, it aims to ensure the high-quality standards of life that would be free of diseases and disabilities. Likewise, it is targeted to improve the quality of health in all the communities and provide them with the essential social and health care facilities (Office for Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, 2016).

Hence, it is evident that the efficient prevention of the Zika virus meets the goals targeted by ODPHP. The virus prevention will contribute significantly to the elevation of life and health quality. To achieve this goal, the problem of the Zika virus needs to be addressed at different levels. Most importantly, it is the relevant health care and disease prevention organizations that are responsible for suggesting effective prevention strategies. One of the most recognizable organizations of this kind is the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that makes significant efforts to resolve the epidemic problem.

According to the CDC, there is currently no vaccine discovered that can treat the infection. As a result, it is suggested to follow the guidelines for preventing mosquito bites. First and foremost, it is essential to wear the appropriate clothes that leave the minimum of the skin bare. Secondly, it is recommended to use mosquito nets and prefer air conditioning to open doors to prevent them from getting inside. Also, it is proposed to use EPA-registered repellents that ensure protection from the bites. A particular focus is put on protecting other people in case one gets infected (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2016).

Reference List

Bushak, L. (2016). A Brief History Of Zika Virus, From Its Discovery In The Zika Forest To The Global Outbreak Today. Medical Daily. Web.

Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2016). Prevention. Web.

Office for Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. (2016). Healthy People. Web.

Pan American Health Organization. (2016). PAHO Regional Zika Epidemiological Update (Americas). Web.