Michael Gale Jr., University of Washington Immunologist, tests frozen isolates from Zika Virus in order to learn more about the disease and possibly find a cure. Photo by MCT Campus
The number of Zika Virus cases
has increased rapidly in the last few
weeks. The sheer extent of the disease
stretches from Brazil all the
way to Indonesia.
The Zika Virus is transmitted
through mosquitos and is especially
active in tropical areas. Some of
its symptoms include: rash, fever,
pink eye and joint pain. While these
symptoms may be relatively mild,
other effects may be far reaching.
The virus is able to survive in
the blood, amongst other bodily fluids.
There is no known vaccine for
the virus. The most affected demographic
is pregnant women. Once
infected with the virus, it is likely
for a pregnant woman to pass the virus
on to their baby.
Newborns infected with the virus
are born with brain defects and microcephaly,
or the condition of being
born with an abnormally small
head. This problem has been reaching
near epidemic levels in several
countries over the last couple of
Many health officials have
stressed the need for pregnant or
potentially pregnant women in the
areas affected to be educated on the
virus, its effects, and how it is transmitted.
A recent study conducted
in the US found that it is possible
for the Zika Virus to be transmitted
through sexual intercourse.
The U.N. has urged women in the
affected areas to use birth control
medications and other contraceptives.
The U.N., among other agencies,
has also stressed the need for
women to be educated on the virus.
Ashley Walters, the Hanover
High School nurse, also agreed that
it is important to educate people on
the virus. She stated that it is essential
to advise people to wear mosquito
repellent and to stay away from
certain areas prone to mosquitos.
Many western nations are advising
pregnant citizens to stay away
from countries affected by the virus.
Despite these warnings, many
believe that it is still important for
the public, or even the students at
Hanover, not to create any sort of
When asked whether or not students
should be worried about the
virus, Walters said, “I don’t think
students should be worried about
the virus.” Cases in the US have also
been extremely isolated and few in
In Brazil, one of the countries
hardest hit by the Zika Virus, the effects
have been felt far past the immediate
health impacts in individuals.
The economy has been greatly
affected by the virus.
In a country where approximately
$7 billion is produced from
international tourism each year, it is
a recipe for disaster as the country
is facing a disease of this magnitude.
The disease has impacted Carnival,
one of Brazil’s most important festivals.
Carnival is a peak time for tourism
in Brazil, however tourist numbers
and revenues have been down
in the last couple of weeks. Many
smaller villages have been forced to
divert money from the festivals to
instead help in the fight against the
Brazil is also due to host the 2016
Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
The country has poured billions of
dollars into public works projects in
preparation for the Olympics. If the
virus still faces the country by then,
then it would certainly be a major
blow to the tourism industry.
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff
remains defiant. Her country
has deployed nearly a quarter of a
million soldiers to help tackle the
problem. Speaking on behalf of all
of South America, she remains confident
that the rest of the world will
provide help to attempt to significantly
reduce the number of Zika