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Friday, January 29, 2016

forest-fire like spreading Zika threatens Rio Olympics !!

Microcephaly is a neurodevelopmental disorder. It serves as an important neurological indication or warning sign, but no uniformity exists in its definition. In general, life expectancy for individuals with microcephaly is reduced and the prognosis for normal brain function is poor. "Microcephaly" means "smallheadedness”.

The 2016 Summer Olympics, officially the Games of the XXXI Olympiad, will take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 5 to 21 August 2016. The host city of Rio de Janeiro was announced at the 121st IOC Session held in Copenhagen, Denmark, on 2 October 2009. …. ..now, Rio's Olympics are on the verge of disaster as fear grows over the Zika virus, which has left more than 4,000 newborns with shrunken heads. Female spectators and even athletes of childbearing age are being warned by countries and medical professionals around the world to reconsider their plans to travel to Brazil for fear of what could happen to their unborn children after the country was overrun by the mosquito-borne disease. Russia and Australian officials have both raised fears for those women preparing to compete in August's Games, while numerous airlines around the world are offering pregnant women the chance to swap or refund their tickets to avoid travelling to affected areas - of which Brazil is the worst.

Originally from Africa, Zika spread to Asia and was first registered in Brazil in the middle of last year, believed to have been brought to the country by tourists during the World Cup 2014. The virus has since been spreading like wildfire through the northeast thanks in part to the region's widespread poverty, equatorial heat and chronic infestations of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which also spreads dengue fever and chikungunya. Despite the World Health Organisation saying they are 'very, very unlikely' to advise against travelling to Brazil in the next year, officials now fear the rapid spread of the Zika virus may deter sports fans and athletes from attending the Olympic Games next year.

Up until recently, Zika was considered a benign virus. It was discovered in Uganda in 1947 and for decades caused only small and sporadic outbreaks in far-off places like Micronesia. At worst, people would suffer from a rash and fever with some aches and pains. Most people never got any symptoms at all.  But when the mosquito-borne virus showed up in Brazil in 2015, everything changed. Unlike in Africa, where Zika has been circulating for decades, the population in Brazil had never been exposed to the mosquito-borne virus and therefore had no immunity. Brazil is also home to many hot and densely packed cities, where the mosquito that carries that virus thrives. These conditions helped Zika "spread explosively," as the World Health Organization put it. The virus is now expected to reach almost every country in the Americas (except for Canada and Chile) – and that is a source of major worry !!

Zika virus (ZIKV) is a member of the Flaviviridae virus family and the Flavivirus genus. In humans, it initially causes a mild illness known as Zika fever, which since the 1950s has been known to occur within a narrow equatorial belt from Africa to Asia. In 2014, the virus spread eastward across the Pacific Ocean to French Polynesia, then to Easter Island and in 2015 to Central America, the Caribbean, and South America, where the Zika outbreak has reached pandemic levels. Over the past year, pediatric neurologists in Brazil began to notice that some pregnant women infected with Zika have given birth to babies with a terrible birth defect called microcephaly, which is characterized by a shrunken head and incomplete brain development. Researchers still don’t fully understand the link between Zika and microcephaly, but this serious birth complication is a big part of why Zika is suddenly dominating headlines — and shaping up to be a global public health emergency.

In Britain, experts say mosquitoes linked to illness are coming into UK on container ships and in the grooves of car tyres. Fears the Zika virus could strike Britain were fuelled after an insect expert claimed mosquitos that can carry the disease have been found there.  According to experts, there is no vaccine to prevent, or medicine to treat Zika virus.  Travellers can protect themselves by taking steps to prevent mosquito bites, such as using a mosquito net and wearing insect repellent.

Zika symptoms are similar to flu including fever, joint pain, rash, headache and muscle pain. However, many people show no signs. It's only in the past few months there's been evidence to link infection in pregnancy and birth defects, microcephaly (a small head).  The name originated from the tropical forest near Entebbe, Uganda. Zika means "overgrown" in the Luganda language. The forest covers an area of about 25 hectares (62 acres) next to the swamps of Waiya Bay, an inlet of Lake Victoria. The forest is accessible to visitors for bird watching.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

29th Jan 2016.

1 comment:

  1. Zika virus is spreading like wildfire and it's really becoming scary, especially to the pregnant mothers. Like the sad stories of affected individuals from Buy Essay Club reviews which are really devastating.

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