Problems posed by Zika Virus
As transmitted by Aedes mosquito, the Zika virus has recently proved to be a challenge to public health authorities, clinicians, and the public in general in the recent past. Though this is not the first time the virus has surfaced, the recent outbreak in Brazil just before the Rio Olympics has underscored the possible problems it can pose to the modern world. The virus has had the potential to affect the health of citizens, has had a role on financial constraints in the event of prevention and control, and has inspired restricted movement and unwelcome travel advisories that have affected the human race in so many ways.
While transmission can also occur sexually, a primary diagnose has proved that pregnant women may pass the infection to their unborn babies. Such an infection comes with a birth defect that has been termed as microcephaly (Lucchese & Kanduc, 2016). The newborn has a distinctively smaller head as attributed to altered brain development during pregnancy or after birth (CDC, 2016). With this condition, there are cases of seizures that affect the everyday life of impacted person. Moreover, microcephaly poses developmental problems in such aspects as speech. Also, there is delayed ability to use both the hands and the forelimbs. While such physical aspects become evident, there are cases of poor cognitive development that decreases the person’s intellectual ability. This is manifested during such activities as learning, decision making, and responses towards normal everyday challenges (CDC, 2016). More so, inability to master movement and balance suggest the poor development of some segments of the brain that facilitate such abilities. Some other problems involve hearing loss and reduced vision. Further physical challenges become evident when swallowing proves difficult during the feeding process (NIH, 2016). All these challenges pose a problem to the child’s overall life while the parents are psychologically devastated due the nature of the situation.
Another health issue associated with the Zika virus is Guillain-Barré Syndrome. Researchers suggest that studies have revealed that the Zika virus has had a role in the outbreak of the condition in such areas as French Polynesia (Cao-Lormeau, et al., 2016). The condition attacks the patient’s peripheral nervous system (NIH, 2016). It leaves the patients physically weak particularly in the legs. This later spreads to other parts of the body including the arms. The condition worsens with time rendering the muscles weak with cases of paralysis. There are cases of difficulty in breathing that demands for emergency attention. The overall outcome is poor health upon the individual who can barely handle everyday activities.
As much as the Zika virus poses a health challenge, its economic cost has proved a burden to patients, the public, sanitary facilities, and governments. The World Bank provided an estimate of $3.5 billion for the short-term cost of treatment and prevention back in February (2016). In the United States, the president proposed a $1.8 billion budget to address challenges with Zika although Congress felt that was not enough to establish a long-term solution (Leefeldt, 2016). In fact, Brazil has had a firsthand experience with the virus. Preparation for the Rio Olympics cost a fortune. Funds have been committed to treatment procedures, health care, and the establishment of modern facilities. Expensive research is being conducted every day while the health sector has been forced to provide funded training to help curb the outbreak. Families have been left devastated financially on top of their health struggles (Leefeldt, 2016). Evidently, funds that could otherwise be used in developmental areas are being channeled towards treatment and post-treatment health care. Other sectors of the economy have been left unattended to. Moreover, the restricted movement has affected the tourism industry (Constenla, 2016). All governments are issuing travel advisories to prevent the spread of the virus. This has result in loss of revenue, unemployment, and dented images of such countries as Brazil.
When travel advisories are issued, countries tend to protect their population from further contract of diseases. However, this is a measure that may prove to be detrimental to the economic relationship between countries. The diplomacy amongst trading partners is affected by such advisories because traders will not access the market while consumers will fall short of meeting their demand for goods and services (Cheikh, 2016). When demand for products goes up and the supply is low then the price will rise and consumers will dig deeper into their pockets to satisfy their needs. At this point, the population will struggle and scrabble for the goods in the market. Some families will be unable to purchase these products due to hike prices thus hunger is more likely to strike the community. In addition, due to less production locally by the population funds spend outside the region will be more than what is getting in. Thus, local farmers will be engaged in a cut-throat competition that will discourage local traders from sources internally. When products are sourced outside region then money and benefits are transferred to the country of origin (Cheikh, 2016). The beneficiary in this case will be traders and farmers whose produce reach the market. Some countries will also discourage the consumption of goods coming from a country suffering from diseases and calamities such as Zika virus. Thus, the economy of such a country will be affected negatively an action that is detrimental to the welfare of the entire population. Therefore, there is need for countries as well as the world health organization should fight the disaster vigorously so as to avert the negative effects.
While the economic cost of the virus proves massive, the virus has come with cases of social segregation particularly from patients (Cheikh, 2016). With an intention to curb the spread of Zika, patients are set apart while the public has been advised to stay away. Apparently, the restricted movement has left some people alienated causing them to be psychologically disturbed in the long run. This has served to weaken social integration among people globally.
Globalization has been hit by the emergence of this virus. This means that the movement of people and goods to areas hit by the virus appears at the lower edge. This may retard the growth of regions zoned and marked as highly risky regions. When diseases or an issue affects the economic life of the people within a region, government needs to act with haste to contain the spread of such virus. This will see the entire community regain its business activities as well as help the government collect revenues and continue with capital investments. To be precise, capital development within a region supports the economic activities of a community. It affects the social affairs of the community in a number of ways. One of the ways through which the social life of community is affected is through loss of jobs (Leefeldt, 2016). Some people will be unemployed due to low business activities in the region. This indicates that when the community is will see an increase in crime as people will turn into illegal activities as a way of making the end meet. In addition, government will spend a lot of money fighting crimes and other forms of illegal businesses. This discourages investors from coming into the region and committing their funds for investment opportunities within such localities. Thus, the flow of funds into the regions will be reduced significantly hence the local government will spend a lot of money to sustain the economy. Families and relatives will also spend a lot of time and finances caring for patients or meeting the medical expenses of their kinship members. Thus, the end result would be sinking into poverty for families living in such regions (Leefeldt, 2016).
Moreover, such advisories as birth control among women have brought about inconveniences. The timing of pregnancy among people has been altered posing long-term implications upon the families. At this point, families are advised to postpone or avoid pregnancy amongst women. The reason behind this is that women can pass this virus if they contact it to their unborn child. This means that children born from such families will suffer from diseases hence bring about some complications in their life. This will not only be detrimental to the community but also to the child as well. Children born with such complications are more likely to experience retarded growth in their life. This is why the health organizations within California and other affected regions are advising mothers to delay bearing children at the current situation. The negative effects associated with infections may even cost the life of the unborn child hence need to be more cautious. It is also important to mention at this point that the effects of these viruses on the health and skin of the patients is worrying and attracts the attention of health bodies (Lucchese & Kanduc, 2016). At the moment, there is no cure that is proven to deal with the virus hence need for individuals and community members to observe caution when moving into highly risky locations. In addition, visitors are advised to get vaccinated when coming into the area if they have to. Government is trying as much as possible to discourage the population from visiting zoned region because they risk contracting the virus. Lastly, individuals or personal hygiene is also encouraged amongst people especially clearing the bushy areas. In addition, unblocking drainage will also help reduce the number of mosquitoes breed (Lucchese & Kanduc, 2016). These mosquitoes spread the virus from one person to the other hence when the population is reduced the rate of infection will go down significantly.
Concisely, the Zika virus has posed a significant implication upon adults and children. With such infections as microcephaly, unborn and newborn babies are denied a chance to lead a normal life. The Guillain-Barré Syndrome leaves patients unable to live normally despite treatment. Additionally, the economic cost of the virus is alarming. The cost of treatment, prevention, training, and research is all time high. More so, with cases of effective treatment, social segregation has become evident. Patients have been left on their own while people have lost touch with one another due to restricted movement.
Cao-Lormeau, V.-M., Blake, A., Mons, S., Lastère, S., Roche, C., Vanhomwegen, J., et al. (2016). Articles: Guillain-Barré Syndrome outbreak associated with Zika virus infection in French Polynesia: a case-control study. The Lancet , 387(10027):1531-1539. DOI: 10.1016/s0140-6736(16)00562-6
CDC. (2016). Facts about microcephaly. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Retrieved from: http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/birthdefects/microcephaly.html
Cheikh, T. D. (2016). Zika virus. Place of publication not identified: Scientific Research Pub
Constenla, D. (2016). The potential economic impact of Zika virus. International Vaccine Access Centre. Retrieved from: http://www.jhsph.edu/research/centers-and-institutes/ivac/IVACBlog/the-potential-economic-impact-of-the-zika-virus
Leefeldt, E. (3rd June 2016). The true cost of Zika in the U.S. could be staggering. CBS News. Retrieved from: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-true-cost-of-zika-in-the-u-s-could-be-staggering/
Lucchese, G., & Kanduc, D. (2016). Zika virus and autoimmunity: From microcephaly to Guillain-Barré syndrome, and beyond. Autoimmunity Reviews , 15(8):801-808. DOI: 10.1016/j.autrev.2016.03.020
NIH. (2016). Guillain-Barre’ Syndrome fact sheet. National institute of neurological disorders and stroke. Retrieved from: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/gbs/detail_gbs.htm
World Bank (2016). The short-term economic costs of Zika in Latin America and the Caribbean Retrieved from: http://pubdocs.worldbank.org/en/410321455758564708/The-short-term-economic-costs-of-Zika-in-LCR-final-doc-autores-feb-18.pdf