The heat is coming and with it the fight against that damn mosquito

Not today there are campaigns to combat the mosquito that transmits dengue fever, yellow fever, Zika and chikungunya, that infamous black-and-white-striped mosquito that transmits very serious - and potentially lethal - diseases. the population.

Unwanted return

Interestingly, in the 1950s, the mosquito was eradicated from our country, and cases of yellow fever managed to be controlled. However, the insect returned to our bands in full force decades later, and new combat campaigns began here in Brazil in 1986, with the record of the first outbreaks of dengue.

Cursed mosquito larvae

However, as you may have realized, the war on this (damn!) Mosquito intensified from October last year, when news began about the birth of babies with microcephaly - and that these cases could be related to the infection of pregnant women by the Zika virus, also transmitted through the insect bite.

In addition to cases of microcephaly, there was also a higher incidence of Guillain-Barré Syndrome, an inflammation of the nervous system that causes weakness or paralysis in humans - and is also associated with Zika. Chikungunya, whose symptoms are similar to those of dengue, was the last to be blacklisted by the Ministry of Health.

Old acquaintances

In fact, although they may seem new, mosquito-borne diseases have been around for a long time! To give you an idea, a Chinese encyclopedia of the year 992 gives a description of a disease very similar to dengue, although the virus began to be studied even at the time of World War II.

Transmitting mosquito distribution map

The Zika virus, in turn, was identified in a monkey used as a guinea pig in yellow fever research in the Zika Forest in Uganda, Africa, hence the origin of its name. But it was not until 1948 that mosquitoes carrying the virus were found in the environment of this African region.

The disease with the most recent history, as we have already mentioned, is chikungunya, which was first identified in Tanzania in 1952. Its name is actually a word from the maconde, the local dialect, whose meaning is “those that bend, ”as those affected often experience a lot of joint pain.

More serious problem than previously thought

Thanks to awareness campaigns, everyone is bald at knowing how to fight the mosquito that transmits dengue fever, yellow fever, Zika and chikungunya, right? However, during the first half of 2016 alone, almost 1.4 million possible cases of dengue were reported in the country, especially in the southeastern region, with 59.8% of suspicions, followed by the northeast (21.1%), Midwest (11%), South (5.5%) and North (2.6%).

Mosquito Fighting Agents

Confirmed, we had 6, 253 cases of dengue with alarm signs, 639 cases of severe dengue and 419 deaths from the disease. Regarding chikungunya, in this same period, 169, 656 suspected cases were reported, and the highest incidence was reported in the northeast region of Brazil. In addition, there were 38 deaths confirmed by the disease.

As for the infamous Zika, although the virus has been known to infectologists since the late 1940s, the problem is that no one (here in Brazil or abroad) imagined that it could be so dangerous. In fact, no one thought that it could have such serious consequences for the health of the population - much less for babies, in the case of microcephaly!

And we have another very serious aggravation related to Zika: no one imagined that, as various scientific evidences have pointed out, the virus could also be transmitted sexually. This means that in addition to using condoms to prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as syphilis and HIV, condoms can also prevent Zika from being passed from one partner to another through sexual intercourse or from the mother. to the fetus.

Pregnant women and women who wish to become pregnant: beware!

During the first half of 2016, 174, 003 probable cases of Zika were recorded in Brazil, and statistics show that the virus has been spreading rapidly and is distributed in 2, 251 municipalities in all regions. The Midwest region had the highest incidence rate, with 1.72.7 cases per 100, 000 inhabitants, followed by the Northeast (118.4 cases / 100, 000 inhabitants). In the same period there was also confirmation of a death by Zika.

Microcephaly baby - possibly caused by Zika

According to the Ministry of Health, there are 3, 530 suspected cases of microcephaly reported in babies in Brazil being investigated - possibly related to the Zika virus. Of these, the majority (about 35% of the total) were notified in Pernambuco, the first Brazilian state to identify the increase in the condition among newborns, followed by Paraíba, Bahia, Ceará, Rio Grande do Norte, Sergipe, Alagoas, Mato Grosso. and Rio de Janeiro.

With this background in mind, it is not surprising that the focus of Zika's protection and combat initiatives has focused especially on pregnant women, women who wish to become pregnant, and those of childbearing age. Thus, in addition to general care to prevent mosquito proliferation, the adoption of condoms is vitally important, as well as prenatal care.