According to BBC News, more than two billion people could be at risk from the Zika virus outbreaks in parts of Africa and Asia. Populations in India, Indonesia and Nigeria are some of the most susceptible to transmission according to scientists writing in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.
Image: Miami Herald
However, they acknowledge that immunity to the virus could already exist in some areas and could decrease the risk. The research team, from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Oxford University and the University of Toronto, Canada said “vast numbers” of people were living in environments where it would be hard to prevent, identify or even respond to the virus.
More than 65 countries and territories now have continuing Zika transmission and the infection, which is spread by mosquito bites, has reached Africa in recent times. In Brazil, the virus was linked in 2015 to an unprecedented rise in the number of children born with curiously small heads, called microcephaly.
The scientists looked at factors like numbers of people who travelled from Zika-affected areas in South America to Africa and Asia, the presence of mosquitoes that can pass on the virus, and the temperature and weather in the regions to assess which countries could be most at risk from an outbreak. Warm temperatures also mean that these mosquitoes which transmit the virus can survive longer.
For the first time in the continental United States, the Zika virus has been discovered in trapped mosquitoes in a small area of Miami Beach, Florida officials mentioned to USA Today on Thursday. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services said that the virus was found in three mosquito samples taken in a 1.5-square-mile area of Miami Beach, where cases have been detected in individuals. According to the New York Times, Zika causes mild symptoms like rashes and joint pain – for most people, but it can cause severe brain damage in the fetuses of pregnant women who are infected by the virus.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is tracking more than 1,500 pregnant women who have been infected by with virus. So far, at least 16 babies have been born with birth defects. Gov. Rick Scott and Florida Surgeon General Dr. Celeste Philip announced on Friday, August 19, 2016, that there are five known Zika cases in Miami Beach, in a 1.5-square-mile transmission zone in the city.
Image: Miami Herald
Over the past month, county and city officials have ramped up mosquito-regulating efforts in South Beach and a one-square-mile section of Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood, acknowledged on July 29 as the first place in the continental United States to have active spread of Zika by mosquitoes.
Image: USA Today