Submitted by Eileen Guo
A preliminary study undertaken at the University of Haifa and the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has found a linkage between the exceptionally hot/dry weather and the outbreak of the Zika virus.
For those who do not know what this virus is, this is a disease transmitted by mosquitoes, which started in Brazil. It can also spread from an affected person. It leaves symptoms such as red eyes, rashes, joint pain, etc. The good news is that the Zika virus is not fatal (at least, it is only rarely). However, it is a problem because it can cause severe birth defects. Not only that, there is no vaccine to prevent it, and not much medication that can help. Just like regular mosquito bites, you can’t really do anything about it!
Currently, only 35 people in the US have Zika (comparatively, only 11 people in the US had Ebola). While this number may not seem like a lot, understanding this disease will be key to preventing it from spreading any further.
Scientists have been trying to find the reason for this outbreak, but just recently, a connection with the weather has been found. The extreme changes in weather and the climate/atmosphere has led to this tragic eruption of the Zika virus. These mosquitoes require water, so because of the drier temperatures, these mosquitoes have found a perfect habitat in water-storages in the houses of people.
However, this finding is just a preliminary study. Researchers are still actively searching for the root cause as well as potential solutions to this horrid situation.