The World Health Organization has declared the mosquito-borne Zika virus as a global “public health emergency of international concern” and has said that it will spread everywhere except Canada and Chile. Considered for many years to be a minor-league virus, Zika appeared for the first time in Uganda in 1947 and was limited to equatorial Africa and Asia. There are usually no symptoms, but it can cause microcephaly, which is a birth defect that features an underdeveloped head and brain. It can also cause facial distortions, developmental disabilities, short stature, difficulties with balance and coordination, speech problems and seizures. It is also linked to the immune disorder Guillain-Barre.
The Zika virus has now spread to 25 countries and territories in Latin American and the Caribbean and has caused nearly 4,000 cases of microcephaly. It has also been found in the United States, though it is not entrenched in the mosquito population as yet. Though it is mainly spread by a mosquito bite from the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which is also responsible for spreading Dengue Fever and Chikungunya virus, one of the two U.S. cases was apparently due to sexual contact.
Some nations have urged women not to conceive or to delay pregnancy until the virus is better understood. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned pregnant women to avoid traveling to areas with Zika outbreaks.
In addition to wearing long trousers and long-sleeve shirts and using mosquito repellant in infected areas, health experts are now adding condoms to the list of preventive measures. Other measures include destroying mosquito breeding grounds, insecticides, etc.
Pharmaceutical companies say they are now working on a vaccine even though the virus has been known since 1947.
“And there shall be… pestilences… in diverse places.” Matthew 24:7