Zika Virus Surging In Puerto Rico, Expected To Hit The U.S. Next
The Zika virus that started in Brazil has spread to other parts of the world, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the island of Puerto Rico is suffering from an outbreak.
According to the New York Times, the war against the Aedes aegypti mosquito carrying the virus has not been a winning one. Unattended outbreaks of the virus are raging. Currently, 5,500 infections have been confirmed on the island. Of that number, 672 are pregnant women. Experts at CDC believe that the actual number of infections is much higher.
This is because most people never get tested. Since January, the number of pregnant women testing positive for the virus has increased. The result may be hundreds of infants born with microcephaly nest year.
"What worries me is not 100 kids with microcephaly," said Dr. De la Vega, chief of ultrasound diagnosis at the university. "What worries me is a lot of kids affected in some way we cannot determine yet. We may be facing a generation with learning and behavioral disabilities."
Many obstetricians are recommending that women refrain from pregnancy for a year, but many religious women are disagreeing.
"'But this is God's gift,' " Dr. Zorrilla said, referring to women who objected. "But at the same time, they're afraid to have a baby they know will need assistance 24/7 for life."
The United States is expected to see an increase in local Zika virus cases.
"We definitely don't take this lightly. This is something we always anticipated and prepared for the worst," Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. "But we do not feel this is going to turn into that broadly disseminated situation that we've seen in Brazil or that we're seeing in Puerto Rico."
Wider trials for Zika vaccines are expected to commence early next year.