Tuesday, February 27

Nothing to be worried about Zika in Bangladesh



Bangladesh is at low risk of Zika virus as American Continent is too far from it where the Zika epidemic is spreading, said the Director of government’s disease monitoring wing Institute of Epidemiology, Dis-ease Control and Research (IEDCR) Prof Mahmudur Rahman.

“We have the vector (for Zika) but we don’t have the virus …we are alert as we always remain but there are issues to be worried,” he told BSS.

“But it is of concern that Aedes species mosquito which quickly transmitted Zika virus, a little-known, untreatable virus to people primarily through the bite of an infected, is more available in Bangladesh.

These are the same mosquitoes that spread dengue and chikungunya viruses,” he said. Recently the Zika virus has been spreading quickly in South and Central America. It doesn’t relate to deadly disease but it appears to have harmful effect on pregnant women. It is connected to a serious birth defect.

The IEDCR director, however, advised to take utmost caution as there was no vaccine or medicine for Zika. Prevention of mosquito bite and control of breeding ground were the key measures. The virus causes fever, rash and red eyes. About 80 percent of the people even do not know they have it.

The symptom appears in one out of five infected persons. In South America, panic runs high due to the connection of the Zika virus with Microcephaly which is a rare neurological condition, in which a baby is born with a small head and brain.

The affected American countries have advised women to delay their pregnancies. The US has advised pregnant women not to travel to the affected countries. “The level of concern is high, as is the level of uncertainty,” WHO chief Margaret Chan recently told her organisation’s executive board members.

“We need to get some answers quickly.”The experts agreed that a causal relationship between Zika in-fection during pregnancy and microcephaly is strongly suspected, though not yet scientifically proven. All agreed on the urgent need to coordinate international efforts to investigate and understand this rela-tionship better.

The experts also considered patterns of recent spread and the broad geographical distribution of mos-quito species that can transmit the virus.

According to WHO, the lack of vaccines and rapid and reliable diagnostic tests, and the absence of pop-ulation immunity in newly affected countries were cited as further causes for concern.