There are doubts now that the Zika virus is even connected to the Microcephaly birth defects noted in Brazil. A study of over 2000 pregnant women in Colombia that were infected with the Zika virus showed no microcephaly in any of the births. Almost 90% of the microcephaly cases occurred in the northeast part of Brazil. Medical organizations in both Brazil and Argentina have challenged the connection and are claiming that the chemical Pyriproxyfen may be to blame instead. This chemical is a larvicide and an Argentine organization REDUAS reported that most affected children lived in areas where this chemical was added to the drinking water to control mosquito populations.
The government of Brazil is refuting these claims and says it only used pesticides approved by the WHO, World Health Organization. In a study of 3,893 cases of microcephaly in newborns, only five women had the Zika virus. An outbreak in Colombia of more than 31,000 cases of the Zika virus, with 5,000 of them pregnant women, has shown not one single Zika-linked case of microencephaly. There are several alternate theories being studied about the Zika virus and its connections to birth defects.
The WHO has declared the Zika virus a global health emergency and they are carefully monitoring its rapid spread. Professionals are working to develop a vaccine.
It seems that one of the latest twists to the Zika virus phenomenon is that governments have decided to spray toxic chemicals in an attempt to eradicate the mosquitoes responsible for the virus transmission. Of course, this could turn out to be worse than the virus itself, as is often the case, when governments intervene.
As you are aware in the healthcare industry, it's important to stay on top of major health issues. As a travel nurse or allied traveler it is important to take these types of things into consideration when planning your future adventures. As always, we wish you safe travels.
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Mary Crawford, HealthCare Employment Network