The Zika Epidemic Outbreak and Practices of Managing It

In recent years, the world has faced many severe epidemics that have claimed thousands of lives. Among them are both previously known diseases and their latest modifications. Most of these pandemics have had a heavy impact on humanity. One of the examples can be the largest outbreak of the Zika virus, which began in 2015 in America (Kazmi et al., 2021). The end of the outbreak was proclaimed a few years ago, but the consequences are still very acute and relevant even nowadays due to ongoing small outbreaks. The infection is currently ongoing and has been recently discovered in the Indian city Kanpur (Zika virus: India’s Kanpur city on alert after 89 cases reported. 2021). The first case in this area was reported on October 23; since then, the number of cases has been steadily increasing.

On February 1, 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the Zika virus a global wellness threat. The virus did not lead to high mortality but was accompanied by severe complications in infants. In all affected regions, the hospitals registered an enormous number of children with microcephaly, congenital underdevelopment of the brain and skull, dementia, and neurological disorders. WHO announced the need to strengthen and standardize the monitoring of microcephaly and neurological disorders in the affected regions. WHO recommendations for further prevention of outbreaks included increased monitoring of new relevant cases, public education campaigns, and the widespread introduction of mosquito repellents. The most vulnerable category of people turned out to be pregnant women in need of additional protection. Some countries, including the United States, have recommended that pregnant women or women planning on childbirth, if possible, refrain from traveling to disadvantaged regions (Kazmi et al., 2021). Regarding the current outbreak in India, health authorities are following a plan developed by WHO back in 2015. They announced quarantines, timely increased efficient sanitary measures, and prolonged hospital mobility.

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Due to a timely correspondence to the problem and research on the relationship between the virus and microcephaly, it became possible to protect people and start forming a vaccine. The development of diagnostic methods, vaccines, and antiviral agents active against the Zika virus has been identified by WHO as a long-term efficient measure to prevent the epidemic. Health authorities are encouraged to prepare for possible outbreaks of microcephaly and neurological diseases in the coming years. With the experience obtained earlier, India will cope with the epidemiological situation more efficiently and speedily.

References

Kazmi, S. S., Ali, W., Bibi, N., & Nouroz, F. (2020). A review on Zika virus outbreak, epidemiology, transmission and infection dynamics. Journal of Biological Research-Thessaloniki, 27(5). Web.

Zika virus: India’s Kanpur city on alert after 89 cases reported. (2021). BBC News. Web.

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