The Origin of the Zika Virus
To South America now, where authorities ramp up efforts to fight the spread of the Zika virus. This after the World Health Organization declared "a public health emergency of international concern" over the virus and its suspected link to a neurological birth defect.
In Honduras, health employees started efforts to battle mosquitoes, which can also transmit other viruses. Cleaning efforts including fumigation were used to combat Zika, to prevent more cases of the virus from taking hold. Fumigation is the method of using a vapor, or gas -- for the purpose of disinfecting or of destroying pests.
There's also a big push by the WHO for a better understanding of Zika. Researchers have been doing this by studying viruses and the mosquitoes that carry them from the place the Zika virus was first discovered -- Uganda's Zika forest.
David McKenzie has more.
--REPORTER PKG-AS FOLLOWS--
ARMED WITH TRAPS… SCIENTISTS PUSH INTO THE ZIKA FOREST IN UGANDA.
THEY'VE DISCOVERED AROUND 70 TYPES OF MOSQUITOS HERE, SOME CARRYING DEADLY VIRUSES.
SO THIS IS A VERY PRECARIOUS CLIMB UP THIS TOWER. THEY NEED TO GET HIGH UP TO TRY AND GET THE DIFFERENT SPECIES OF MOSQUITOES.
WE'RE IN AN ECOLOGICAL HOT ZONE… WHERE ZOONOTIC DISEASES THRIVE.
IT HAS A LIGHT TO ATTRACT THE MOSQUITOS AND CARBON DIOXIDE COMING OFF THE DRY ICE. AND WE SHOULD GET SOME OVERNIGHT.
AND THEY DO… MOSQUITOS THAT COULD BE CARRYING YELLOW FEVER…DENGUE AND…YES…THE ZIKA VIRUS.
THE FOREST GAVE THE VIRUS ITS NAME… BACK IN 1947 SCIENTISTS DISCOVERED THE ZIKA VIRUS BY ACCIDENT WHILE STUDYING YELLOW FEVER…THEIR RUSTED RESEARCH STATION STILL HERE.
BUT ZIKA INFECTED MOSTLY MONKEYS…AND HUMAN SYMPTOMS WERE MILD, IT FELL OFF THE MAP.
"So instead of thinking yellow fever, actually the chemicals of another virus."
A POTENTIAL KEY MUTATION AND AN INCREASINGLY CONNECTED WORLD SPARKED AN OUTBREAK HALF A WORLD AWAY.
(Julius Lutwama, Uganda Virus Research Institute) "With modern transport, which is very efficient, very fast, one person can be here today, get bitten by a mosquito and start getting sick after he has travelled thousands of miles."
NOW SCIENTISTS ARE PLAYING CATCH UP…LOOKING CLOSELY AT THE ZIKA CARRYING… AEDES AEGYPTI MOSQUITO.
"We do have to keep them under lock and key."
BUT IN THESE LABS THEY'VE BEEN MOSTLY USING THEIR HIGH-TECH EQUIPMENT TO DIAGNOSE PATIENTS…THEY LACK THE FUNDING TO TRACK EMERGING VIRUS THREATS IN THE FOREST WHERE ZIKA WAS IDENTIFIED…
(Julius Lutwama, Uganda Virus Research Institute) "For sure, we don't know completely what is in these forests. We have not done enough. We can't say we know anything. Every other year we come across new viruses."
THEY SAY NOT NEARLY ENOUGH IS BEING DONE TO RESEARCH VIRUSES BEFORE THEY SPARK A GLOBAL HEALTH EMERGENCY.
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN, ZIKA FOREST, UGANDA.
President Obama has requested $1.8 billion from congress to help fight the Zika virus. The money would be used for emergency response efforts in the U.S. and overseas. A portion would go to further research of the virus by the Centers for Disease Control.
Posters & Factsheets: Center for Disease Control, Mosquito Bite Prevention
Website Article: World Health Organization, Zika Virus Fact Sheet
Website Article: PBS NewsHour: How does Zika Virus Shrink a Baby’s Brain and Other FAQs
Website Article: University of California Berkeley, Structural Fumigation
Online Reference Source: Occupational Outlook Handbook, Pest Control Workers