Since the 2016 Olympics in August, Zika has been slowly fading from the public’s eye. In July, the House passed the Zika Response Appropriation Act, which is now waiting for the Senate’s approval, but doesn’t look like it will be addressed until next year, according to Dr. Nathan Paxton, a Professorial Lecturer at American University’s School of International Service.
For now, Dr. Paxton, who studies global and public health, is just making a lot of phone calls to gather information.
Just this summer, Capitol Hill had a sighting of Zika carrying mosquitoes, but wasn’t made a huge issue with the upcoming winter months hopefully killing off all of the mosquitoes.
Staying current on what we’ve learned about Zika will help those who live in warmer climates, like Florida, or are planning to travel to places where Zika has continued to be an issue.
Jill Christmas, an experienced traveler and hiker, often escapes the city life to enjoy a warmer climate. Her upcoming trip is to Argentina, where she says, “Zika is always in the back of my mind.” She said she was given the extensive run down of Zika before her last trip to South America earlier this year, but because she’s not planning on having children anytime soon, she’s not overly worried.
Dr. Paxton says that Zika is dangerous for three reasons.
“First, it’s hard to detect, we have tests that can now detect it, but they’re not normal,” meaning it’s not a routine test and can’t be given to everyone because the resources aren’t available.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there is no vaccine or medicine for Zika.
“Second, it’s the transmission method, anywhere on the East Coast, we know what it’s like, I mean we spend all of our Summers with Mosquitoes, most of us can’t tell if they’re sort of normal mosquitoes we have, or Aedes aegypti,” says Nathan Paxton, on why Zika is dangerous.
The third thing that makes Zika dangerous is that it is also sexually transmitted, which Nathan says is the first mosquito driven disease he is aware of that can be transmitted this way.
One of the side effects of Zika is babies being born with Microcephaly, a birth defect which causes the babies to have smaller heads.
For more information, visit the CDC’s website on Zika.