The United States Congress is showing its true colors once again by arguing about funding to prevent the spread of the Zika virus in the United States. It seems the lawmakers would rather question whether there’s going to be an outbreak of Zika rather than realized it has already started. There have been 107 reported cases of the virus in 26 states. The closer the country gets to spring and summer the faster those numbers will increase, according to Brazil’s Ministry of Health advisor, Dr. Sergio Cortes. Dr. Cortes has been investigating why the Zika virus outbreak in Northeastern Brazil happened so quickly for the last 11 months. Cortes has a great deal of information about the virus posted on his website.<br>
It didn’t take the Zika virus long to spread to other countries in South America. Even though Brazil started an aggressive Aedes aegypti mosquito eradication program a month after the first case was reported, the virus and the mosquitoes were not phased by it. The countries of South America were Zika’s first target in 2016, and once Zika conquered those nations, it moved to the Caribbean, Central America, Puerto Rico, Mexico and the United States. The virus hasn’t completely invaded the United States, but according to a post on the Dr. Cortes LinkedIn page, the U.S. could have more than 4 million infected people within the next six months. And to make matters worse, the virus is responsible for the outbreak of microcephaly, and that disease is sending pregnant women into an elevated level of fear.
Microcephaly is the disease that affects the fetus before birth. When infected babies are born they have very small heads and underdeveloped brains along with other issues. The Zika virus plays a role in the development of microcephaly, according to the Dr. Cortes Facebook page. The relationship between the Zika virus and microcephaly hasn’t been scientifically proven, but there is enough evidence to believe Zika is causing the birth defect. More than 4,000 cases of microcephaly have been reported in Brazil since August 2015. Brazil only reported 150 cases of microcephaly a year before the outbreak of Zika.
There is enough field evidence to prompt the World Health Organization to put out a warning to pregnant women and women that want to get pregnant. Even the Maternal-Fetal Division at Johns Hopkins issued a statement saying women should wait at least four weeks after being infected with the virus to conceive. Dr. Cortes tweets statements from various medical and health sources on a daily basis.
The state of Florida is taking the Zika virus threat seriously even though Congress is fighting funding to stop the spread of the virus. Florida is testing genetically engineered mosquitoes that mate with Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. The mosquitoes born from that union can’t reproduce.