Environmental Issue & Sick Building Syndrome Blog

How Zika Found its Way Into the United States

May 23rd, 2016 9:27 PM by Dan Howard

How Zika Found Its Way into the United States
            Researchers first isolated the transmissible agent in the Rhesus Macaque in 1952 and discovered that little infectious gem in a human being living in Nigeria in 1954.  Identified infections remained limited to Africa and Asia until 2007. In April 2007, the RNA (virus equivalent of our DNA) evidence of the virus was found in Micronesia. The virus then spread from the South Pacific to South America, Central America and then the Caribbean.  

            Now, according to the CDC, the Zika virus is here in the United States. It is not that mosquitos have traveled that distance. According to the American Mosquito Control Association, many breeds of mosquitos seldom travel more than 300 feet from their birthplace. With that in mind, we know that they do not fly across the great oceans. We, the people, traversing the world in modern transportation modes, carry their virus with us. We then are bitten by mosquitos in our destination and those mosquitos then carry the virus to a new host. The virus spreads from that new location.

Today’s reality is that viruses swimming in an unsuspecting traveler’s blood stream are easier to carry across an ocean or continent than getting an oversized travel bag onto an airplane. The virus is also spread by bodily fluids between sexual partners.      

In summary, as with many of the communicable diseases, it is the result of a modern world where a person living in Africa can travel to South America in much less than a day. If you travel to the Caribbean, you can be in the US in hours. A cruise, family vacation or trip to the Rio de Janeiro Olympics can bring this virus into your life and the life of your friends, family and neighbors.

More to the point, if your neighbor visits an area with the virus, the mosquito can first bite your neighbor and then bring the virus into your back yard or home

Posted by Dan Howard on May 23rd, 2016 9:27 PM



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