Bug Blog

U.S. Underestimating Zika Virus

The hot summer weather is fast approaching, which is the ideal environment for the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the carrier of the Zika virus, to breed, multiply, and hunt down humans for a quick bite.  So far the U.S. has been told that the virus will likely spread here, but that we don’t have too much to worry about, as it should stay mostly around the southern climates and our use of air conditioning and screens on our doors and windows will prevent it from spreading rapidly as it has in other countries. However, health officials from the CDC and other organizations are now claiming that we are underestimating this disease.

While the president has re-appropriated a portion of the money set aside for the Ebola virus to use to fight the Zika virus, the funds are a long way from the 1.9 billion needed. They have also already taken $589 million leftover money from the Ebola epidemic funding to put towards fighting the Zika virus. But, according to Anthony S. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, we still don’t have nearly enough money. He claimed on Monday that, “I don’t have what I need right now.” We need to be prepared for the possibility of the virus spreading rapidly and widely during the hotter months of summer.

And the news just gets worse. The CDC has also discovered that the Zika virus isn’t just linked to microcephaly, but a “broader set of complications” in pregnancy. Among these complications being reported are premature births, as well as blindness and problems with the eyes. Women who have been infected with the Zika virus during their pregnancy are the women having babies with these conditions. It’s clear that we need to get a lot more serious about this virus than we have been.

Are you worried about the spread of the Zika virus to the United States? Do you think Americans should be more concerned than they are right now?