Zika Virus: Epidemiology, current phobia and preparednessfor upcoming mass gatherings, with examples from World Olympics and Pilgrimage
Objective: To describe Zika Virus (ZIKV) epidemiology, current phobia, and the required preparedness for its prevention during the upcoming Mass Gathering (MG) events.
Methods: Electronic databases of PubMed, WHO, CDC, Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Google, and Cochrane library were extensively searched for ZIKV. Articles were reviewed, scrutinized and critically appraised and the most relevant articles were utilized.
Results: ZIKV is an emerging Flavivirus which was first isolated from Uganda in 1947. It is transmitted mainly through bite of Aedes mosquitoes. Sexual, perinatal and blood-borne transmissions are implicated. ZIKV is incriminated to cause microcephaly and Guillain-Barré syndrome. The spiky spread of ZIKV and its epidemic potential are especially problematic in countries which host big MGs with endogenous ZIKV circulation. This put millions of international travelers and local inhabitants at risk of acquiring ZIKV, especially in absence of vaccine until now. Brazil Olympic and Paralympics Games, and Muslims Hajj in Saudi Arabia are important upcoming MGs. Regarding Brazil, swiftly epidemic of ZIKV causes phobia and provokes claims and counter-claims about possible postponing or cancellation of such events.
Recommendations: Intensifying ZIKV epidemiological surveillance (sentinel, syndromic, environmental, laboratory and electronic), and conduction of educational programs are required. Controlling Aedes vector (chemically & biologically) is essential. Multidisciplinary cooperation is required to win the war against ZIKV.
How to cite this:Ibrahim NK. Zika Virus: Epidemiology, current phobia and preparedness for upcoming mass gatherings, with examples from World Olympics and Pilgrimage. Pak J Med Sci. 2016;32(4):1038-1043. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.12669/pjms.324.10038
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