Zika virus: Fearing the unknown


Every news station, newspaper and social media network alike has been fixated over Zika.

Zika is a virus, native to Africa and found in South America, that has wildly spread to Latin America, the Caribbean and some places in the United States. While the side effects aren’t life threatening (flu-like symptoms, pink eye and fever) the virus is most dangerous to pregnant women.

If women are infected with the virus while pregnant, their child has a high likelihood of being born with microcephaly. Microcephaly stunts head growth early on in fetal development, causing the child to be born with an abnormally small head and metal disabilities.

The World Health Organization has advised pregnant women not to travel to Latin American countries. They have also advised women who live in Latin American or South American countries not to get pregnant for at least two years.

Recently it was reported in Texas that the disease can be sexually transmitted, which exponentially increases the spread of the viral epidemic.

As a young person, student and someone who cares about my future health, the media have refrained from answering what I think is the most important question: If I am infected with the Zika virus and I want to have children in the future, will they be born with this defect? I know a virus’s symptoms run their course, but will the effects of the virus affect future children?

Do we fear this virus because it is new or because of how it could affect us?

All the news reports are the same and, as informed citizens, the media should make efforts to report on different aspects of the same topic rather than reiterate the well-known facts.

While it is understandable that we do not know enough about the spreading virus, the media should make serious efforts to investigate the case and report information about the disease as fast as possible.