Annals of Tropical Medicine and Public Health

EDITORIAL COMMENTARY
Year
: 2017  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 1409--1410

Zika virus disease outbreak in Brazil: Existing challenges and role of young people in containing the infection


Saurabh R Shrivastava, Prateek S Shrivastava, Jegadeesh Ramasamy 
 Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Saurabh R Shrivastava
Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai Village, Thiruporur, Guduvancherry, Sembakkam Post, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu
India




How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Zika virus disease outbreak in Brazil: Existing challenges and role of young people in containing the infection.Ann Trop Med Public Health 2017;10:1409-1410


How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Zika virus disease outbreak in Brazil: Existing challenges and role of young people in containing the infection. Ann Trop Med Public Health [serial online] 2017 [cited 2019 Nov 15 ];10:1409-1410
Available from: http://www.atmph.org/text.asp?2017/10/6/1409/222687


Full Text



The 2015 outbreak of Zika virus disease has shocked the world with its rapid spread across different regions of the world.[1] Currently, more than 67 nations and territories have reported cases of Zika virus borne transmission since the start of the current outbreak.[1] Further, owing to the thousands of cases being reported in the affected nations, the ability of the infection to spread to different nations and continents, the asymptomatic nature of the disease in four-fifth of the cases, the definitive risk of the virus to spread through the sexual route, and the high risk of the infection to precipitate congenital anomalies and various untoward pregnancy outcomes, the disease has been declared as a public health emergency of international concern.[2],[3],[4]

Among all the nations with evidences of the disease, Brazil has been the worst affected.[3],[4] This is due to a constellation of various factors like social and ecologic context, which facilitates the spread of arboviruses in the region, ineffectiveness of the current strategy to ensure vector control, favorable climate and environmental conditions suitable for vector propagation, poor community awareness, lack of the preparedness of the health and other allied sectors, and movement of significant number of travelers to and from the nation cities, which not only increases the caseload, but even plays a crucial role in the spread of the disease to the rest of the world.[3],[4]

However, even at this stage, no precise estimates are available about the magnitude of the disease, proportion of affected pregnant females or infants with neurologic alterations, the immunologic profile of the pregnant females, which makes them more susceptible, the genetic profile of the fetus, the role of other vectors or factors in increasing the transmission of the disease, and so on.[3],[4],[5] All these factors are not allowing the interventions to have a significant beneficial effect in terms of reducing the caseload or risk of fetal complications.[4],[5]

Nevertheless, the policy makers have invested their resources in strengthening of the health system (viz., diagnostic tools, training of health professionals, etc.), improvement in epidemiologic surveillance, implementation of measures to ensure community participation, extension of support to affected patients, and promotion of research in different aspects of the disease to understand the agent and the disease better.[1],[2],[3],[4],[5]

There is no doubt that young people have to live with the consequences of the disease, and hence it is their responsibility to not only to discourage the presence of environmental conditions, which favor the rise of various mosquito-borne illnesses, but also to adhere to safer sexual practices to neutralize the risk of man-to-man transmission of the disease.[4],[5],[6] The role of young people is extremely crucial, as large proportions of affected people are living in slums with poor sanitation facilities, and these youths can significantly improve the existing situation by approaching the health stakeholders also.[6]

In fact, a youth organization has come forward and is working with the United Nations Population Fund to spread information about the disease, necessity to improve environmental sanitation, and the role of people in reducing mosquito breeding, during their house-to-house visit in the slums.[6] In addition, the members of the organization are also advocating for safer sexual practices and the promotion of sexual and reproductive health and rights, with the help of different international supportive agencies.[6]

To conclude, the situation of Zika virus disease in Brazil is quite challenging due to the presence of various predisposing factors. However, the scenario requires extensive commitment from the stakeholders and support from the community members to bring about an end to this public health emergency.

Acknowledgments

SRS contributed in the conception or design of the work, drafting of the work, approval of the final version of the manuscript, and agreed for all aspects of the work.

PSS contributed in the literature review, revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content, approval of the final version of the manuscript, and agreed for all aspects of the work.

JR contributed in revising the draft, approval of the final version of the manuscript, and agreed for all aspects of the work.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

References

1World Health Organization. Zika situation report-15 September 2016. 2016; Available from: http://who.int/emergencies/zika-virus/situation-report/15-september-2016/en/ [Last accessed on 2016 Sep 19].
2Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. 2015 outbreak of Zika virus disease declared as Public Health Emergency of International Concern: justification, consequences, and the public health perspective. J Res Med Sci 2016;21:55.
3Clavagnier I. Consequences of the Zika outbreak in Brazil. Rev Infirm 2016;65:41-2.
4Comissão de Epidemiologia da Abrasco Zika virus: challenges of public health in Brazil. Rev Bras Epidemiol 2016;19:225-8.
5Carvalho BR, Taitson PF, Brandão KS, Ferriani RA, Nakagawa HM, Silva AA, et al. Reproductive planning in times of Zika: getting pregnant or delaying plans? The opinion of the Brazilian Society of Assisted Reproduction Committee-a basis for a bioethical discussion. JBRA Assist Reprod 2016;20:159-64.
6UNFPA Young people take the lead against Zika in Brazil. 2016; Available from: http://www.unfpa.org/news/young-people-take-lead-against-zika-brazil [Last accessed on 2016 Sep 19].