As the Zika virus continues to spread in Latin American countries, some US residents are worried about the havoc an epidemic could wreak in the States and on the global economy as a whole. The infection’s insidious symptoms and the difficulties in controlling mosquito breeding grounds foreshadow a dystopian future of class segregation and human population control, according to the renowned environmentalist Bill McKibben. Could it really be that bad?
Currently, authorities in Brazil, Colombia, Jamaica, El Salvador and Venezuela are warning women against becoming pregnant until solid measures to decrease the spread of the virus can be implemented. The threat of giving birth to a baby with microcephaly birth defects is a disturbing reality for women living in these regions, as well as for travelers who may be unknowing carriers. Not only do these facts highlight the socioeconomic disparities for those who are vulnerable – mostly people in poor regions – and those who are not, discouraging travel by wealthier Westerners could also have long-standing effects on the economies of said countries.
There is action being taken to try and stop the spread at its source, according to The Guardian. Two types of mosquitos, yellow fever and Asian tiger, are known to carry the virus. Both species can withstand severe conditions, including their larvae, which can “hibernate” and be revived with water months after drying out. Although most mosquitos only travel within a radius of about 1,600 feet from where they hatched, this fact means they could be carried elsewhere and survive to spread the virus. Programs to fight back against the winged devils include breeding “self-destructing” mosquitos with the offending species – which has yet to be successful – and extensive mosquito fogging endeavors, yet authorities do not have the funds to fog every household. Educational programs to rural locations warning against leaving stagnant water around the home are also hoped to be effective.
Time will tell what is most productive in the fight against the virus’ spread, yet there is a consensus on the importance of keeping these regions funded and supported throughout the fight. Our global future may depend on it.
Via The Guardian