By Pranav Mougdalya
"Everything we look at with this (Zika) virus seems to be a little scarier than we initially thought," Dr. Anne Schuchat, CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) principal deputy director, told reporters during a White House briefing.
The 2016 Rio Olympics raised questions about the Zika virus have been percolating among the worried and affected.
The Zika virus, unheard of 70 years ago is now exploding around the planet. Now considered a “global health emergency,” the rising threat of potential and fatal illnesses caused by this deadly virus has millions of people worried.
First identified in monkeys in 1947, the Zika virus, mainly transmitted through mosquitoes and an unclean environment, has been on a steady incline to becoming one of the world’s most dangerous viruses. In 2014, cases of the Zika virus in Brazil and other South-American countries were being diagnosed in pregnant women and their newborns.
In the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico, American Samoa and the U.S. Virgin Islands, however, there have been over 350 cases of the virus so far, most of them locally transmitted in their tropical climates.
This is why the CDC is concerned.
However, even being researched by hundreds of experts in the field of virus transmission and health conditions, a reliable cure, if any at all, has yet to be found.
In February, the CDC administration asked Congress for $1.9 billion in emergency supplemental funding to fight the Zika virus. Congress is still yet to act on this request.
In the meantime, scientists are advising pregnant women who are expected to deliver soon, not to travel to countries such as Mexico and Brazil where the Zika virus is prominent.
What does that mean to Californians? Well, although southern California isn’t a primarily affected area in regards to the deadly virus, proper hygiene and cleanly work areas should be preserved to avoid any contact with transmitters of this disease.
"We can't assume that we're not going to have a big problem,” Schuchat said. “We know with other viruses we've had bigger problems than we expected. We're taking this very seriously."