Zika Virus Expected To Spread In 50 US Cities This Summer

Posted: Mar 17 2016, 7:50am CDT | by , in News | Latest Science News


Zika Virus Expected to Spread in 50 US Cities This Summer
Many US cities face potential risk in summer of low, moderate, or high populations of the mosquito species that transmits Zika virus (colored circles). The mosquito has been observed in parts of the United States (shaded portion of map) and can establish populations in additional cities because of favorable summertime meteorological conditions. In addiiton, Zika risk may be elevated in cities with more air travelers arriving from Latin America and the Caribbean (larger circles).
  • Image based on data mapped by Olga Wilhelmi, NCAR GIS program.

The summer season which is coming up may lead to outbreaks of Zika Virus in several US cities like New York and Los Angeles.

There are several factors working in favor of a Zika Virus outbreak in certain US cities during the summer months. The mosquitoes responsible for the virus are spreading the disease at a feverish pitch throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.

The disease may enter the southern and the eastern regions of the US as the climate gets warmer around May, June and July. These sultry summer months are suitable for the disease to take root in the United States. 

All along the East Coast and especially in the Big Apple (NYC) such may be a likely future scenario. Also along the southern regions such as Los Angeles and Phoenix, there is a great chance of the disease spreading at a fast rate.

The computer models tested by the researchers t NCAR and the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, show plenty of proof of this situation normal absolutely fouled up occurring on a real time basis.

While in the spring and fall seasons, the populations of the mosquito will be a few to moderate numbers, in winter it will virtually die out. Cold is its #1 enemy.  

However, as the travel and tourism trends show, there could be people entering the United States from areas where the Zika Virus is rampant. This of course spells trouble.

Cities in Florida and Texas are especially vulnerable to occurrences of the disease. The computer simulations and extensive research may help predict patterns and thus allow a modicum of prevention in case of the Zika Virus.

A thorough understanding of the spread of Zika Virus and the dynamics of mosquito populations in synch with the seasons may be of utmost help in wiping out any traces of the virus.   

"This research can help us anticipate the timing and location of possible Zika virus outbreaks in certain U.S. cities," said NCAR scientist Andrew Monaghan, the lead author of the study.

"While there is much we still don't know about the dynamics of Zika virus transmission, understanding where the Aedes aegypti mosquito can survive in the U.S. and how its abundance fluctuates seasonally may help guide mosquito control efforts and public health preparedness."

"Even if the virus is transmitted here in the continental U.S., a quick response can reduce its impact," added NCAR scientist Mary Hayden, a medical anthropologist and co-author of the study.

While the spread of the virus to the US may not be hindered with ease, it can be eradicated once it has spread. The measures taken by the government and the local medical establishments may stem the flow of this nuisance.

What is needed is quick action that destroys the virus at its very root. If predictions are anything to go by, the virus will strike in the hottest months this year.

This summer the weather will also be more sweltering than usual in the US thanks to the phenomenon of global warming. Most Americans work in air conditioned environments that are sealed off from the hot and humid outer weather, so there is little chance of them contracting the virus. 

The study was published in the peer-reviewed journal PLOS Currents Outbreaks. This research was funded by the National Institutes of Health, NASA, and the National Science Foundation (NSF), which is NCAR's sponsor.

The study was co-authored by scientists at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, North Carolina State University, Maricopa County Environmental Services Vector Control Division, University of Arizona, and Durham University.

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The Author

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
Sumayah Aamir (Google+) has deep experience in analyzing the latest trends.




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