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Thread: Zika virus: President Obama calls for urgent action

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    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    Default Zika virus: President Obama calls for urgent action

    I'm kind of surprised something hasn't been posted about this yet. I've been reading increasingly horrifying stories about it the last two weeks. Incurable mosquito-borne virus. Especially affects pregnant women who end up with babies that suffer from microencephaly. Combined with the number of microcephaly that are skyrocketing, you have the fact that it is becoming a pandemic. Brazil has recommended that women there put off getting pregnant for the next 18 months.

    US President Barack Obama has called for urgent action against the Zika virus, which has been linked to babies being born with underdeveloped brains.
    He said research to develop vaccines and treatments must be speeded up.
    The World Health Organization says the virus is likely to spread across nearly all of the Americas.
    It has already been found in 21 countries in the Caribbean, North and South America. Symptoms include mild fever, conjunctivitis and headache.
    Medics are most worried about the damage the virus can potentially cause to babies in the womb.
    Brazil has recorded a huge spike in cases of microcephaly - the condition where babies are born with unusually small heads - and a number of Central and South American nations have asked women to delay pregnancy.
    There have been 3,893 reported cases of microcephaly in Brazil since October compared with the previous annual average of just 160 cases.
    Elsewhere:

    • A Danish tourist returning home from Latin America has been diagnosed with the virus. Earlier cases in Europe include Germany, Britain and Sweden
    • Health officials in the US states of Virginia and Arkansas say two residents who travelled outside America have tested positive for the virus, the AP news agency reported
    • Latin America's largest airline, Grupo LATAM, has announced it is waiving cancellation or flight-change fees for pregnant women wanting to cancel flights to affected countries

    More on the Zika virus:

    Image copyrightGetty ImagesImage captionBabies born with abnormally small heads may face lifelong difficultiesZika: What you need to know
    Zika virus 'to spread across Americas'
    Mothers' fears amid outbreak
    'The worst day of my life'
    The alarming threat of Zika virus
    Virus 'may spread'

    "The president emphasised the need to accelerate research efforts to make available better diagnostic tests, to develop vaccines and therapeutics, and to ensure that all Americans have information about the Zika virus," the White House said in a statement.
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    Media captionViviane Lima created a WhatsApp support group to help answer questions from parents worrying about Zika virusMr Obama was briefed on the potential spread of the virus by senior officials on Tuesday, with one recent study suggesting that the virus may affect regions where 60% of the US population lives.
    His spokesman said it was imperative for all Americans to have information about the virus and measures they can take to protect themselves.
    US National Institutes of Health Director Dr Francis Collins cited a Lancet study earlier this month in which researchers warned the virus could spread in warmer months along areas of the east and west coasts of the US and much of the Midwest, where about 200 million people live.
    The study also shows that nearly 23 million more people live in humid parts of the US where mosquitoes carrying the virus can survive all year round.
    "It is now critically important to confirm, through careful epidemiological and animal studies, whether or not a causal link exists between Zika virus infections in pregnant women and microcephaly in their newborn babies," Dr Collins said.
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    Media captionDoctors say they are witnessing a sense of panic among patients, as Wyre Davies reportsBrazil's government on Tuesday said it would deploy 220,000 soldiers in its fight against the virus. They will go from home to home handing out leaflets on how to avoid its spread.
    The announcement came after Health Minister Marcelo Castro said Brazil was "losing badly" in its fight against the virus.
    What is Zika virus?

    Image copyrightAP
    • Spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which also carries dengue fever and yellow fever
    • First discovered in Africa in the 1940s but is now spreading in Latin America
    • Scientists say there is growing evidence of a link to microcephaly, that leads to babies being born with small heads
    • Can lead to fever and a rash but most people show no symptoms, and there is no known cure
    • Only way to fight Zika is to clear stagnant water where mosquitoes breed, and protect against mosquito bites



    Has the travel advice to stay away from South America if you are pregnant or trying to start a family put you off visiting the region? Have you cancelled any travel plans? Email your thoughts to haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk
    If you are willing to speak further to a BBC journalist, please include a contact telephone number, or you can WhatsApp us on +44 7525 900971.

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    Elite Member MontanaMama's Avatar
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    Given my employer - this is a HUGE issue/concern for me. And I'm going to Brazil in March, although the likelihood of pregnancy is a religious calculation that cannot be solved by modern math.
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    Elite Member rollo's Avatar
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    I was looking to see if anything had been posted as well.

    Sorry I can't post whole article.

    Zika Virus has 'explosive pandemic potential' as World Health Organisation urged to act NOW¬* | Daily Mail Online
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    I was planning Rio for the Olympics to watch a friend compete, but am now reconsidering.
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    Elite Member DeChayz's Avatar
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    OK, so if you're preggo it can cause birth defects. What if you're not preggo? It says there's no cure and can cause headache and fever, but then what? Nothing? You just carry it like herpes?
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    Elite Member CornFlakegrl's Avatar
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    That's what I'd like to know. Or does it just run it's course like other viruses and then it's over?
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    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    It seems like it's mostly a concern for women who are becoming pregnant in these regions. Brazil actually recommended women not get pregnant for the next 18 months. But there are complications for adults who get it, too. Below is part of an explanation by CNN:

    1. What is Zika and why is it so serious?

    The Zika virus is a flavivirus, part of the same family as yellow fever, West Nile, chikungunya and dengue. But unlike some of those viruses, there is no vaccine to prevent Zika or medicine to treat the infection.
    Zika is commanding worldwide attention because of an alarming connection between the virus and microcephaly, a neurological disorder that results in babies being born with abnormally small heads. This causes severe developmental issues and sometimes death.


















    What is the Zika virus?01:55



    Since November, Brazil has seen 4,180 cases of microcephaly in babies born to women who were infected with Zika during their pregnancies. To put that in perspective, there were only 146 cases in 2014. So far, 51 babies have died.
    Other Latin American countries are now seeing cases in newborns as well, while in the United States one Hawaiian baby was born with microcephaly linked to the Zika virus after his mother returned from Brazil. Several states have confirmed the virus in individuals who traveled to areas where the virus is circulating, including Illinois, where health officials are monitoring two infected pregnant women.
    The CDC is asking OB-GYNs to review fetal ultrasounds and do maternal testing for any pregnant woman who has traveled to one of the 24 countries where Zika is currently active.
    A smaller outbreak of Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare autoimmune disorder that can lead to life-threatening paralysis, is also linked to Zika in a several countries.

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    Elite Member Flygirl's Avatar
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    I'm in PR right now. My crew and I just got in from the pool because we were getting bitten by so many Mosquitos :/

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    I'm headed to Mexico on Saturday. I'm not pregnant or in any danger of becoming pregnant, but I did stock up on bug spray. My sister in law is pregnant, and from what I understand, Zika isn't transmissible from person to person, but it seems like as good an excuse as any to stay away from her for a while. (Yes, I am going to hell for making light of a very serious problem.)

    This must be so scary for women living in these regions, especially since birth control isn't as easy to come by as in other parts of the world.

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    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stella blue View Post
    This must be so scary for women living in these regions, especially since birth control isn't as easy to come by as in other parts of the world.
    The other thing I'm wondering about is when you would be able to tell during a sonogram that the fetus is showing obvious signs of microcephaly. And whether that would be outside the acceptable time window for an abortion.

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    Elite Member ShimmeringGlow's Avatar
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    My favorite morning show interviewed Dr. John M. Dye, JR Ph.D. (Chief, Viral Immunology; US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, Virology Division). He's works at Fort Detrick, the home of some of the most deadliest infectious diseases in the world. He's a cool guy that explains the virus in a way that is easy to understand. Elliot, the DJ, is a bit much if you've never heard him, but give the clip a listen.

    https://youtu.be/izH5Nm-g3JQ




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    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    it's not really dangerous (except if you get really, really unlucky) unless you're pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant.
    that said, maybe the silver lining is that latin american governments in some countries will finally do something about family planning and curbing the birth rate in some countries? a lot of them haven't because of good old tradition and religion but maybe this will finally prompt them to take their heads out of their asses.
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    Elite Member DeChayz's Avatar
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    Good ol' Dr. Gupta to the rescue:

    3. How serious is the Zika virus?

    For those who aren't pregnant, most will either have no symptoms or mild ones, and it's not serious at all. Eighty percent of those affected never know they have the disease. In fact, what typically happens is that once you get it, you become immune. You are essentially now vaccinated against the virus, because your body has built up antibodies and the next time will fight it. However, there has also been an association with the Zika virus and Guillain-Barre syndrome, an inflammatory syndrome of the central nervous system. It occurs with bad viral infections, sometimes the flu. But again, most people really have no problems at all.

    4. How long does it stay in the bloodstream?

    It appears not to stay too long. The virus is usually gone from the body in five to seven days. The only way to tell if you have antibodies. There is no evidence to suggest it would lie dormant and pop up again. If you get it, you likely won't know, will have mild symptoms and then will be immunized.
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    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sputnik View Post
    it's not really dangerous (except if you get really, really unlucky) unless you're pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant.
    that said, maybe the silver lining is that latin american governments in some countries will finally do something about family planning and curbing the birth rate in some countries? a lot of them haven't because of good old tradition and religion but maybe this will finally prompt them to take their heads out of their asses.
    it is the kind of catastrophe that is usually the catalyst for a pretty big change in government policy or social behavior.
    sputnik likes this.

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    Oughta be real fun for the summer Olympics in Rio.
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