For those who have been following the news recently, the zika virus has been everywhere, both in terms of media coverage as well as countries. What started in Africa quickly made its way to South America and became an epidemic. The virus has already taken hold of South America, leading to a number of countries being placed on lists designating them as dangerous travel destinations, and has been slowly but surely working its way north as governments and scientists don’t know how to stop it. Now it turns out that the virus has made its way multiple states within the United States of America, with Florida being hit amongst the worst of them.
As I write this, 7 counties in Florida are now under a state of emergency due to the zika virus and there is a very real possibility that more will follow and be placed under similar states of emergency. Why is this happening? Florida is already fertile ground for mosquitoes due to the temperature and climate and as global warming progresses, more and more diseases and illnesses from other countries will be making their way to the United States. There is a real chance that Florida will see most of these sooner rather than later due to its climate and its proximity to South America and the Caribbean islands. 16 people have been infected, that we know of, and Broward, Hillsborough, Lee, Miami-Dade, Osceola, Santa Rosa and St. Johns counties are all under a public health state of emergency.
While for most people infected with it, zika does nothing more than give the symptoms of a mild cold (the body can also deal with it pretty easily), there is a strong possibility that the disease is linked in microcephaly in pregnant women. Brasil is currently investigating 4,000 suspected cases of microcephaly and whether or not there is a link between any true cases of it and mothers who were infected with zika. Regardless of whether or not there is connection, and regardless of how much less of a big deal zika is than, say, ebola, it’s what it symbolizes that is terrifying. This is unfortunately a new reality of global warming and as it gets worse and worse, we will be dealing with more and more situations like this.
If you’d like to read more, the link is here.