Students consider the itch of Zika epidemic

Taylor Bolanos
LV Life Editor

While it may not have the same coverage that the Ebola virus had last year, Zika has the potential to become exponentially more serious than it is now.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the symptoms of the Zika virus, which includes pain, rashes, headache and fever, do not affect most people infected either through mosquito bites or sexual transmission.

However, the disease is linked to serious birth defect known as Microcephaly and Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a form of paralysis. While no formal connections to the disease have been made, the CDC notes the virus may be a cause.

With no known cure, Zika has the ability to spread globally, beyond the primary infection sites of Southeast Asia, South America and Africa.

The known effects of Zika are not severe, and few cases of the virus have been reported in the United States, making it a minor concern for the general public. This contrasts the Ebola epidemic, which was linked to highly infectious and serious symptoms.

With the Summer Olympics taking place in Brazil this year, Zika could pose a threat to travelers and their homes when they return.

“I just feel like there’s so many different viruses out there,” senior biology major Laura Sahawneh said. “People need to be a lot more informed.”

Sahawneh expressed concern over the Olympic Games in Brazil and the general unawareness of the public, after researching the effects of the virus.

“It’s interesting to know that there’s no treatment,” Sahawneh said.

Many people are generally uninformed and unconcerned about the virus.

“It’s basically like any other disease,” junior physics major Jose Ramirez said.

“If people are really into going to the Olympic games, that’s their own risk. The only time it’s becomes a big deal is when it affects us (the United States).”

Having no knowledge on the existence of the virus, senior criminology major Morgan Lester shares Ramirez’s views and is not concerned.

Since no definite links have been made between the virus and the more serious diseases, Lester does not believe the impact the United States.

“I don’t think it’s serious,” Lester said. “(It) sounds like another Ebola virus. It hasn’t happened, so I’m not worried just yet.”

Senior accounting major Jordan Qatami is more cautious and believe that this could be just as serious as Ebola.

“It’s extremely sad that this is happening,” Qatami said. “I hope someone finds the root of the problem. Since there (usually) aren’t any symptoms, it’s a dangerous situation for sure.”

Qatami does not suggest anyone visit infected areas.

“I do think it’s possible for it to be widespread in America,” Qatami said. “Don’t add to the problem that’s already existing.”

Taylor Bolanos can be reached at taylor.bolanos@laverne.edu.

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