While the Zika virus spreads in America and Europe, officials at the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention have published new advice for travelers to and from epidemic areas.
The disease is named after a forest in Uganda, where the virus was discovered in 1947.
It was in 1952 that the first human cases were reported in Uganda and Tanzania.
We can’t say that we are safe because there are certain factors at play that can lead to the transportation or importation of mosquitoes.
In the laboratory where the virus was first isolated, scientists continue to study the disease and remain vigilant about its possible spread in Africa.
“Our job is to increase surveillance, to know which mosquito species are in the wild, to know which mosquitoes are highly competent of transmitting the virus, to know which ones bite animals as well as humans,” said Martin Mayanja, an Entomologist at the Research Institute in Uganda.
Transmitted by the bite of Aedes mosquito, Zika is strongly suspected of being the cause of many cases of microcephaly, a congenital malformation in infants whose mothers were infected during pregnancy.
Although there have not been any reported case in Uganda, Dr. Mayanga said they have to take extra precautions.
“We can’t say that we are safe because there are certain factors at play that can lead to the transportation or importation of mosquitoes from one part of the country or other parts of the world into another part of the world. For instance there is global trade, commercial trade. Now in commercial trade there is a likelihood that mosquito eggs can be shipped from one country to another,” said Mayanja.
About 1.5 million patients infected by the virus have been reported in Brazil, where 404 cases of microcephaly have been confirmed and 3,670 suspected cases are being examined.