The Zika Risk Still Remains
In the United States mainland, the virus was prominent in Florida, and hundreds of cases were reported in other parts of the nation; moreover, Aedes spp. mosquitoes inhabit a large area of the country, endangering nearly the whole population.
During 2015 and 2016, it appeared that the Zika virus disease would become a pandemic. However, it suddenly withdrew in 2017 due to herd immunity, and to this day there are only a few cases each year. Yet, this does not mean that the virus is no longer a threat. Herd immunity is temporary and unreliable, as it causes fewer people to become infected with the disease. Therefore, they are unable to develop immunity, giving the virus a possible foothold in society. Furthermore, as demonstrated by the map, there is a wide swath of the United States and several other countries that is susceptible to the Zika fever. As global warming continues, this region of vulnerability to Aedes spp. mosquitoes will grow into colder areas, bringing them northwards in the United States and directly impacting our own state of Massachusetts. The fact that the virus is still hitting members of the world population today reveals its capability to become an epidemic again. This is highly relevant to today’s community, as it will harm not only us but also the children of pregnant women with the disease. Thus, we need to uphold our duty of keeping the public healthy by taking preventative actions against the Zika virus disease.
Currently, there is no vaccine to the Zika fever, though development for a solution is an active area of research. There are three vaccine approaches that have been tested successfully in monkeys, but they are not fit for humans just yet, and the lack of cases right now makes experiments even more difficult. The best way to avoid contracting the Zika virus is to remain vigilant and always shield oneself through the uses of insect repellent, clothing that covers the body, physical barriers from mosquitoes, and protection during sex. Nonetheless, even with these many countermeasures, it is probable that the Zika menace will be back and stronger than ever.
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