As notorious as Ebola, the Zika virus has much of the medical field concerned with how to prevent the Zika virus from spreading.
Shortly after labelling the outbreak “a global health emergency,” WHO designed and implemented their Global Emergency Response Plan.
The plan focuses on mobilizing and coordinating with experts to aid in the surveillance of the Zika virus, its development and possibly linked disorders. It also emphasizes educating the public of the risks and proper protection measures.
Since May 2015, WHO’s Regional Office for the Americas has been closely working with affected nations. AMRO/PAHO and partner specialists were organized to assist health ministries in detecting and tracking to prevent the Zika virus from spreading. They also advise on clinical management of Zika and investigate the spikes in microcephaly and Guillain-Barré syndrome.
In a private, joint effort, the U.S. and Great Britain join a few nations taking the matter into their own hands.
The U.S. federal government is beginning to take action by permitting the release of genetically engineered mosquitoes, in the hope of slowing the spread of the virus.
The genetically engineered insects, containing a gene designed to kill their offspring, were developed by the British company Oxitec. The mutants have already shown effectiveness in small tests in Brazil and other countries in suppressing the populations of the mosquitoes that transmit both the Zika virus and dengue fever.
Under federal rules, genetically engineered animals are regulated as animal drugs, giving jurisdiction to the veterinary medicine division of the F.D.A.
The Zika virus was first identified in the Americas in March 2015, when an outbreak of an exanthematous illness occurred in Bahia, Brazil.
Brazil has also created their own initiatives to control mosquito populations and prevent the frequency of mosquito bites.
The Brazilian government created a task force designed to prevent the Zika virus from being transmitted for both short and long-term periods. Approximately 220,000 members from the army, navy and air force have united with 300,000 public agents and volunteers all over Brazil to exterminate breeding grounds.
Peru is also focusing on prevention. As of now, the nation only has one reported case. By fumigating areas from college campuses to bus terminals, government officials are hoping to prevent the establishment of the Zika virus inside their country. Percy Minaya, the Deputy Health Minister for Peru, visited Lima’s International Airport. Here booklets offering information on Zika prevention were handed out, as well as condoms, highlighting the important issue of sexual prevention when it comes to transmitting the virus.
– Veronica Ung-Kono