Zika virus: Should we fear the worst?


The recent Zika virus outbreak has caused concern around the globe and continues to dominate headlines and newscasts each day.

Zika is a virus transmitted through infected mosquitoes in tropical regions, namely South and Central America. The disease is most problematic for pregnant women, as the virus has been linked to a birth defect known as microcephaly.

Any person who turns on a television or a computer to stay up-to-date on current events can tell you that Zika is spreading rapidly.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, was recently quoted as saying, “It isn’t as if it’s turning around and dying out, it’s getting worse and worse as the days go by.”

Comments like Fauci’s, which many Zika-related stories seem to be filled with, have the ability to spark fear in millions of people around the globe.

However, a recent article by CNN Specialist Dr. Tom Frieden paints the virus in a different light.

According to Frieden, who is a director at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),  “from the information we know now, widespread transmission in the contiguous United States appears to be unlikely.”

And while the Zika threat definitely should not be taken lightly, Frieden also states that “science doesn’t have a crystal ball, but the CDC has great laboratories and the world’s best disease detectives.”

Frieden’s article highlights one main point: Zika virus is a serious issue, but it is important to put a health crisis like this into perspective.

The likelihood of many Americans being infected by the virus is small, and the CDC has also dealt with serious crises like Ebola and avian influenza in past years.

The media tend to take disease outbreaks and cover the situation in excess, causing people to assume that each and every new disease has the potential to exterminate humanity.

It is undoubtedly important to do your research and stay informed during an outbreak. But, before you let Zika virus dictate how you live your life, keep your eyes open for lesser known facts and opinions that the media may not put on the front page.