Within the past six months, most people haven’t been able to turn on their favorite news channel without being overwhelmed by a new virus that seemed to be taking the world by storm – or at least many of the countries in Central and South America. By now, most people know that the Zika Virus is a disease caused by the bite of an infected insect, or by unprotected sex with someone who is infected with the virus. It’s symptoms include skin rashes, fevers, reddened eyes, and joint pain.
Shortly after hearing about the Zika Virus, we learned that the virus was causing horrible birth defects in newborns whose mothers were carrying the virus. Following this, complications of the Zika Virus began causing death in vulnerable people, such as infants and the elderly.
It seems like we learn more devastating news about this virus everyday, and it’s almost hard for the average person to keep up on everything they need to know about the Zika Virus. To make it easy, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most newsworthy Zika updates.
Zika and the Olympics
The 2016 Olympic Games are to be held in August in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Just one problem… Brazil has one of the highest Zika Virus rates in the world right now, and we’re sending ALL of the worlds top athletes into the thick of it. There has been some talk about wanting to postpone the games or relocate them, but obviously that is much more complicated than it sounds.
Many nations that are sending athletes to the games in August are taking precautionary measures. Australia, for example, will be sending their team to the games equipped with Zika-proof condoms. The Australians called it “a common sense approach to a very serious problem”. Other countries are threatening to pull their athletes from the games altogether.
Zika in the United States
Following the discovery of the Zika Virus in Puerto Rico, the United States went into full defense mode and is spending over a billion dollars to help protect citizens from mosquitoes carrying Zika. Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas and other southern states are especially up in arms.
As of today, there have been about 500 documented cases of the Zika Virus in the United States, although all cases were reportedly contracted while the individual was abroad.
Zika in Europe
The World Health Organization claimed that it is likely for the Zika Virus to spread to Europe within the next few months, although the likelihood of an outbreak is rather low. Russia’s coastline, areas near the Black Sea, and the coast of Georgia are facing the highest risk in Europe. The risk of the virus is moderate in France, Italy, Spain and Greece, and the least likely in the United Kingdom.
At this time, Europe has not issued any new travel advice or travel restrictions.
Most recently, scientists have developed a clone of the Zika Virus itself, and discovering this will help aid in the development of a successful vaccination. They hope the vaccination will be ready within the next few months, but it still has a long way to go.
While these are some of the most newsworthy updates currently, thousands of researchers are working night and day to figure out everything they can about this virus, and staying updated with the latest news is necessary!