Researchers from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases assured that the virus is still a mystery
Leer en Español:El zika aún no está muerto
The Zika pandemic was first recognized in 2013. However, the World Health Organization only declared Zika as a public health emergency of international concern in 2016. The virus affected severely the Latin American countries and left trace of millions of infected people and babies with microcephaly (a bad development of the head conformation). According to recent investigations, the virus has now spread to more than 80 countries or territories, including 50 in just the Americas and the Caribbean.
After the peak of the infection in 2016, the importance of the virus has declined. Nowadays, it is considered a problem solved in many countries. Nevertheless, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) warned that the virus remains a research and a public health challenge.
The Institution (a part of the National Institute of Health) assured that "although scientist have made progress in their understanding of the virus and its mosquito carrier, and are working toward treatments and a preventive vaccine, it would be premature to think that the Zika pandemic is now under control and will not reemerge, perhaps more aggressively".
The study maintains that due to the "pandemic's uniqueness and the insidious ability of Zika virus to harm unborn children, the pandemic has captured the attention of infectious disease researchers and practitioners of clinical and public health medicine around the world".
In the last edition of the Journal of Infectious Diseases, NIAID scientists, explained that there remains to study "whether certain viral mutations occurred to facilitate its geographical spread; or if different species of Aedes mosquitoes (the virus carrier) are capable of transmitting Zika and what that may mean for future transmissions", among other questions.
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., and senior advisor David Morens, M.D. recommended to study the rubella epidemic of the 1960's, when tens of thousands of babies were born with congenital rubella syndrome in the United States, to acquire important lessons and applied them to the Zika research.
According to the scientist, "Zika pandemic is likely to serve as a roadmap for addressing future emerging infectious disease challenges".
The virus is still alive
Argentina is still registering new cases of microcephaly due to Zika virus. The Epidemiology Coordination of Salta (a Northern province) confirmed 2 newborns affected. The National Health Ministry reported 37 microcephaly Zika linked cases in the Salta province.
Meanwhile, in accordance to the Spanish National Epidemiological Surveillance Network, since 2015, the country confirmed 325 Zika cases. All the infected acquired the virus in Latin America. The Spanish Government also warned the population, because due to climate change and the anomalies of rains this could "facilitate the survival of the carrier mosquitoes and their colonization of new habitats".
Dr. Ernesto Marques, an Infectious Diseases expert from Brazil, told The New York Times that the problem is not disappearing, "we still have cases". The main problematic is the socio-economic environment of the families. The doctor assured that they still need the presence of different specialists.
Latin American Post | Santiago Gómez
Copy edited by Marcela Peñaloza