As diseases proliferate, mosquitoes becoming Public Enemy No. 1

As diseases proliferate, mosquitoes becoming Public Enemy No. 1. Source: USA Today, Jan 15 2016.

The Zika virus is causing concerns across Central and South America. There is no vaccine known at this time but it can be deadly for children.

As diseases go, Zika virus was always considered minor league.

It didn’t make people all that sick; most infected people had no symptoms at all. Zika was confined to a relatively narrow belt that ran from equatorial Africa to Asia.

Today, Zika has spread to Central and South America and is linked to an alarming increase in once-rare birth defects in Brazil. Although Zika was first diagnosed in Brazil in May, it’s been linked to more than 3,500 cases of microcephaly, in which infants are born with small heads and immature brain development.

mosquito

An Aedes albopictus or Asian Tiger Mosquito, spreads dengue fever, the world’s fastest growing mosquito-borne disease. (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)

Yet Brazil isn’t just fighting Zika.

That country is also combating outbreaks caused by dengue and chikungunya viruses, which are known for causing fevers and debilitating joint pain. Dengue can be fatal.

The USA needs to prepare for a similar scenario, in which epidemics of multiple mosquito-borne diseases break out simultaneously, according to Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who co-wrote a new report in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Read the complete article.

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