I am really worried about zika, especially looking at how fast it is spreading across our continent and the world. We used to be quite familiar with tropical diseases like dengue, but zika seems to be more aggressive and more dangerous. And, it spreads so fast.
In order to avoid zika, I have been trying my best to eliminate mosquitoes, which are said to be behind the rapid spread of the disease. I have been taking care of my bromeliads [a houseplant native to tropical and subtropical America], putting sand in puddles of water in my street and using all kinds of mosquito repellents. I have been trying everything to stop these mosquitoes.
It is really sad that zika hurts babies the most. We could be seeing an entire generation with severe birth defects and abnormalities. And the consequences, economic as well as psychological, are unimaginable, not just for those babies, but for their parents and their families.
The disease could also hurt the Olympic Games to be held in Rio de Janeiro in August. Those who are afraid of zika probably will not turn up. I think we must understand and accept the concerns of those who do not want to come or the athletes who do not want to participate. After all, health is more important than Olympics.
I am, however, confident that scientists working on the disease will find a vaccine to tackle zika. In Brazil, the budget for research to combat the disease and all the collaborative work being done are really impressive. This international collaboration shows how investment in science is important. I hope the Brazilian government now puts science as a top priority.
The author is a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Sao Paulo.