The Zika virus is all over the news.
The complications are worrying. Yet, there are still some things you need to know about the Zika virus.
We reached out to Dr. Jae U. Jung, PhD, director of the USC Institute of Emerging Pathogens and Immune Diseases and professor and chair of the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. One of his areas of expertise is how viruses evade a host body’s immune response.
According to Dr. Jae Jung, these are the 5 things you need to know about the Zika Virus:
1. The risk that a Californian will contract Zika virus from a local Aedes mosquito is low because California is not hot and humid like Latin America or the Caribbean. Florida, southern Texas and New Orleans are probably the first places in the United States that might house mosquitos carrying Zika virus. These locations have had reported incidents of dengue and Chikungunya — two diseases that originate from the same type of mosquito that harbors Zika virus.
2. Although Zika virus is not new, the scientific literature about Zika virus is sparse. Researchers have yet to develop progressive study models for Zika virus infection.
3. Mosquito-borne diseases and airborne diseases are the most worrisome emerging pathogens to human health. Vaccines don’t exist for diseases such as Zika virus, Dengue virus, Chikungunya virus, MERs or SARs.
4. It will take many years before a viable Zika vaccine will be produced. Some experts say it will take a decade.
5. It will also take some time before scientists are able to definitively say Zika virus causes or does not cause microcephaly, Guillain-Barré syndrome or any of the other health effects that have been correlated with Zika virus.
By Zen Vuong