Will Zika Be A Big Problem Around The World This Summer?
After the numerous tragedies caused by Zika last year, it is fair to say that no person wants to see the situation get any worse this year. There has been much money allocated to Zika research and control during the past couple of years, however, that money is running out. The American Congress remains indecisive when it comes to how much money should be spent on Zika research in 2017. There has also been some controversy regarding the accuracy of Zika infection reports from the territory of Puerto Rico, as well as the country of India. Unfortunately, this means that the potential impact of the Zika virus during the summer of 2017 is largely unknown at this point, even by the experts.
So far this year the United States has not reported any locally transmitted cases of the Zika virus within its borders. However, public health experts, as well as renowned entomologists, worry that the US is not doing enough to prepare for another summer with Zika. The recent decrease in Zika research, as well as the lack of resources that public health officials have at their disposal to contain Zika, may spell disaster this year. The experts charged with research, prevention and containment are simply not prepared to tackle the problem of Zika.
According to Lyle Petersen, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Vector-Borne Diseases, there is still much that researchers do not know about the Zika virus, and there is much research that remains to be done if the global population is to be spared a Zika epidemic. Surveillance reports are tremendously important for knowing which region will be struck by Zika in the near future, and without these up to date reports, entire populations could be vulnerable to the spread of Zika. Currently several scientists and researchers are lobbying the US government for more Zika funding.
Do you think that the Zika virus will be as devastating this year as it was last year? Why or why not?