Annals of Tropical Medicine and Public Health

EDITORIAL COMMENTARY
Year
: 2016  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 377--378

Exploring the multiple dimensions in the control of Zika virus disease: Vector control, surveillance, clinical care, risk communication, travel, and promotion of research


Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava, Prateek Saurabh Shrivastava, Jegadeesh Ramasamy 
 Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava
Department of Community Medicine, 3rd Floor, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai, Thiruporur–Guduvancherry Main Road, Sembakkam Post, Kancheepuram - 603 108, Tamil Nadu
India




How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Exploring the multiple dimensions in the control of Zika virus disease: Vector control, surveillance, clinical care, risk communication, travel, and promotion of research.Ann Trop Med Public Health 2016;9:377-378


How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Exploring the multiple dimensions in the control of Zika virus disease: Vector control, surveillance, clinical care, risk communication, travel, and promotion of research. Ann Trop Med Public Health [serial online] 2016 [cited 2017 Jul 27 ];9:377-378
Available from: http://www.atmph.org/text.asp?2016/9/6/377/193930


Full Text

The emergence of Zika virus disease in the Americans has attracted a lot of attention of the policy makers and international welfare agencies.[1] The disease has been regarded as one of the public health emergency of international concerns (PHEICs) since the beginning of February 2016.[1] Such a declaration is evidence-based and clearly, the disease requires such priority owing to its huge magnitude, rapid rise in the number of cases, potential to spread to different parts of the world, and a possible association with microcephaly and neurological disorders.[1],[2]

However, the facts which should not be ignored are that the virus was a known entity for more than five decades and the public health authorities lacked preparedness to respond to such emergencies, absence of an effective vaccine or treatment modality, and lack of research in the various aspects of the disease (viz., no preexisting evidence to suggest the risk of congenital or sexual transmission, association with congenital defects or neurologic abnormalities, etc.).[2] At the same time, the mishandling of the environment, climate deterioration, unprecedented expansion of industries, and global warming are the key reasons for the spread of mosquito-borne diseases.[2],[3] Thus, most of the evidence suggest either shortcoming in the health sector or the interference with the biological environment, which has eventually facilitated the disease to grow to epidemic proportions.

A set of recommendations has been proposed after the second meeting of International Health Regulations Emergency Committee, in which it was decided to continue the status of the disease as PHEIC further.[4] It has been advocated that extensive research should be undertaken to assess the association between the virus and clusters of microcephaly/neurologic disorders, genetic sequencing of the virus, and natural history of the disease, estimate regarding the duration of virus in body fluids, to assess the possibility of other factors which might be associated with microcephaly/neurologic disorders, explore options for newer diagnostics, and expedite the process of development of a vaccine.[4],[5] In addition, the surveillance activities have to be strengthened and notification of the new cases (detected on the basis of standard case definitions) has to be made mandatory.[1]

Furthermore, measures to ensure vector control, including vector surveillance (pertaining to the identification of species or sensitivity to insecticides); improve the various dimensions of risk communication (to address concerns of general population, including pregnant women, risk of sexual transmission, increase community engagement, upscale reporting, and warrant implementation of the preventive measures in the affected regions); and delivery of health care and supportive services to the pregnant women and following them up for their birth outcomes through regional capacity building initiatives, will also play a defining role in reducing the incidence of infection.[1],[3],[4],[5]

Even though no restrictions have been imposed on either travel or trade in regions with active virus transmission, it is advised that pregnant women should avoid travel to the regions with active outbreak, and either abstain from sex for their entire pregnancy span, or use safe sexual practices, in case their partners are living in endemic areas.[4],[5] However, all the travelers have to be advised about the potential risk of travelling to the affected regions and what all they need to do to prevent from acquiring the infection.[1],[3],[4] Further, standard vector control measures should be implemented at the airports/seaports in accordance with the proposed recommendations.[4]

To conclude, Zika virus infection has threatened the global public health, and it is high time to respond to the infection with a long-term vision and a systematic, comprehensive approach to address the concern of further rise in the incidence of the disease.

References

1Lupton K. Zika virus disease: A public health emergency of international concern. Br J Nurs 2016;25:198, 200-2.
2Rodrigues LC. Zika: The tragedy and the opportunities. Am J Public Health 2016;106:582.
3Lee J. Zika virus infection: New threat in global health. J Korean Med Sci 2016;31:331-2.
4World Health Organization. WHO Statement on the 2nd Meeting of IHR Emergency Committee on Zika Virus and Observed Increase in Neurological Disorders and Neonatal Malformations; 2016. Available from: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/statements/2016/2nd-emergency-committee-zika/en/. [Last accessed on 2016 Mar 11].
5Bell BP, Boyle CA, Petersen LR. Preventing Zika virus infections in pregnant women: An urgent public health priority. Am J Public Health 2016;106:589-90.