Thursday, January 28, 2016

Mapping the Zika Virus

Places in the News:  Mapping the Zika Virus

The World Health Organization announced that it would hold an emergency meeting on Monday to decide whether to declare a public health emergency due to the Zika virus “spreading explosively” across the Americas.  The first confirmed Zika virus in the Americas occurred in Brazil in the spring of 2015.  The virus has now found its way to 17 other countries in the Americas.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Zika virus is spread to people through mosquito bites and commonly results in fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes.  However, the outbreak in Brazil resulted in Guillain-Barre syndrome and pregnant women giving birth to babies with birth defects and poor pregnancy outcomes.  According to The Economist, El Salvador, Colombia, and Ecuador have recommended that women delay pregnancy until 2018. 

The Economist published the above map showing where the Zika virus could become endemic based on a research paper published in the Lancet.  The map indicated cities with over 1,000 travelers from Brazil with red dots.  The turquoise bubbles show the number of travelers from Brazil by country between September 2014 and August 2015.  The United States had nearly three million visitors from Brazil during that time.  And the pink and red shading shows where the risk is seasonal (with mosquitoes) and where the risk is year-round.

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