Reports of the Zika virus have been widespread recently, prompting officials to declare an international public health emergency. Until recently, both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization have been focusing their efforts on international travel warnings and mosquito bite prevention. But just last week the first known case of the Zika virus in the United States was reported by Texas health officials, who claim it was likely transmitted through sexual contact and not a mosquito bite.
Reuters reports that CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden has confirmed that this is the first U.S. Zika case in someone who had not traveled abroad during the current outbreak:
The virus, linked to severe birth defects in thousands of babies in Brazil, is spreading rapidly in the Americas, and WHO officials on Tuesday expressed concern that it could hit Africa and Asia as well. Zika had been thought to be spread by the bite of mosquitoes of the Aedes genus, so sexual contact as a mode of transmission would be a potentially alarming development.
Like the 2014 Ebola epidemic and numerous fictional zombie viruses, the disease seems to have spread much faster and farther than any treatment or containment efforts. Zika has also been linked to Guillain-Barré syndrome and microcephaly; a neurodevelopmental disorder that can severely impair the development of the brain or central nervous system.
While the theoretical cognitive abilities of the undead have been thoroughly researched by ZRS Advisory Board member, author and neuroscientist Bradley Voytek in his fascinating book “Do Zombies Dream of Undead Sheep?“; the surprising spread of the Zika virus provides a much better example of future infection sources and possible outbreak models.
As organizations like the CDC and WHO continue to fumble the handling of a dangerous virus that even they claim is “spreading explosively” throughout the Americas, both still manage to provide an excellent source of information on the symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of this coming pandemic for any ZRS members interested in further research.