With over 190 military installations, spanning 23 states and 3 U.S. territories the Pentagon has a lot of worrying to do about how best to protect its service members from the fast spreading Zika virus. Recent data confirms that the Zika virus is linked to birth defects like microcephaly, and with news that the virus is sexually transmitted the concern is at an all time high.
The city of Houston is setting up mosquito traps in fear of what is to come for the hot, humid city. The pesky vectors, once caught, are ‘flash frozen’ and then sorted by sex and sent to researchers for analysis as to whether or not the specimen carries the Zika virus or other virulent diseases. Although, Dengue fever and Zika have yet to be found in the Texan mosquitoes, the research continues in hopes that it can get on the fighting side of the outbreak before the problem becomes overwhelming.
The Director of the World Health Organization squarely put blame on countries which have abandoned their mosquito control programs and the lack of family planning education for allowing the current epidemic to explode globally.
Researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston have successfully replicated the Zika virus in petri dishes and are confident a vaccine to aid the situation is under way. With the newly engineered virus, scientists are beginning to form a plan of defense, generating new hope for tackling the disease.