Zika Virus Outbreak Likely In U.S.

A Zika virus outbreak is likely to be seen in the United States as summer approaches, says experts. So far, there have been 350 discovered cases of the Zika virus within the United States, but in all cases, the patients were travelers and had become infected outside the U.S.

The Huffington Post recently reported that experts were expressing concern over a possible Zika virus outbreak within the U.S. as the weather reaches warmer temperatures. About 30 states inside the U.S. have been found to harbor the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which is a carrier of the Zika virus.

“It is likely we will have what is called a local outbreak,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNBC.

The Zika virus is not a huge cause for concern for most healthy adults. About 80 percent of people who contract the virus see no symptoms at all. For those that do, the symptoms usually cease in about a week and have no lasting negative effects. However, experts say the danger should not be ignored. For some, the effects of the Zika virus can be devastating. The virus can be very harmful to an unborn child and has been linked to several neurological ailments, which Fauci calls “disturbing.”

CNBC reported that the Zika virus is “scarier than we thought.”

The Zika virus, which is typically transmitted through the bite of a mosquito or sexual contact, can give adults the paralyzing Guillain-Barre syndrome. The Inquisitr reported the Zika virus is also a likely cause of several cases of microcephaly, a rare birth defect that produces an unusually small head. Microcephaly typically indicates poor brain development.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention even suggests pregnant women not travel to areas where there has been a Zika virus outbreak. The CDC has issued a health advisory for all those who have traveled or are planning to travel to Central America, South America, the Caribbean, and Mexico.

“There are only individual case reports of significant neurological damage to people, not just the fetuses but an adult that would get infected,” said Dr. Anthony Facui. “Things that they call meningoencephalitis, which is an inflammation of the brain and the covering around the brain, spinal cord damage due to what we call myelitis. So far they look unusual, but at least we’ve seen them and that’s concerning.”

“The threat of at least having some local outbreak is likely I would think. It’s up to us now to make sure when it happens, we contain it,” added Fauci.

There are ways the general population can assist in controlling a Zika virus outbreak. One important area is not allowing stagnant water to collect, which is a breeding ground for the disease-carrying mosquito.

The New York Times announced New York’s $21 million dollar campaign to help prevent a Zika virus outbreak. The plan includes such things as getting rid of standing water, testing for pregnant women who fear they may have been exposed, and an increased number of mosquito traps.

The Inquisitr reported on the controversial proposal to release GMO mosquitos to combat the Zika virus. The FDA recently granted approval of the use of the GMO mosquitos in Florida. Many Florida residents are not happy about being the government’s guinea pigs, especially since no cases of the Zika virus have been reported in the area. There is also the conspiracy theory that GMO mosquitos are the cause of the Zika virus.

A Zika virus vaccine is in the works, and testing will begin in September. However, a vaccine will take years before it’s available to the public. In the meantime, Dr. Anthony Fauci has urged the U.S. government to allow for a $1.9 million dollar emergency budget to help fight the spread of the Zika virus.

[Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images]