The Black Sea area faces the risk of Zika spreading
As the World Health Organization (WHO) pointed out in its statement released on May 18, the ‘Zika’ virus that was initially circulating in Africa and South America, may now spread across Europe.
The Black Sea coastal areas of Georgia and Russia, as well as the Portuguese island of Madeira, are named among the high-risk zones. The reason is the presence of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that carry the ‘Zika’ virus.
Experts call on the risk-group countries’ governments to take preventative measures. WHO recommends that all efforts should chiefly be carried out at mosquito breeding sites and the virus-carrying mosquitos should be destroyed. Also, it is necessary to inform the population, especially pregnant women, about the virus and the complications potentially linked to it.
What Zika is and what one should know about it:
- The virus is transmitted from the bite of an infected mosquito from the Aedes genus, of which the most common is Aedes aegypti, which has been found in more than 50 countries.
- ‘Zika’ fever symptoms are usually mild and in the most cases are not fatal. Its symptoms can include a high temperature, skin rash and headache. The symptoms are usually arise a few days after the blood is infected. They last for about a week and, as a rule, do not cause serious complications. People infected with the ‘Zika’ virus often do not even consult a physician, especially since there are no medications currently available to counteract it.
- However, the situation is more complicated in the case of pregnant women. The ‘Zika’ virus is particularly dangerous for them, since the virus seriously affects the fetus, causing an inborn brain defect, microcephaly, and other neurological problems in infants. In the Zika-affected countries there is a high rate of infants born with microcephaly.
- In Salvador, where the virus is particularly widespread, the government has called on women to avoid getting pregnant for at least three years. Brazilian medics have issued a similar recommendation. As for the USA, the pregnant women there have been recommended to avoid travelling to the countries experiencing ZIka outbreaks.
- Up to 2 million people in Brazil contracted the ‘Zika’ virus last year.
- The World Health Organization regards ‘Zika’ as a serious global threat, granting it the status of pandemic. There is no available vaccine against this virus.
- Any region populated with Aedes mosquitos can potentially harbour the disease.