There is currently a large outbreak of Zika Virus in Brazil, which has since spread to other countries in the Americas and around the world through people travelling.
Australia is a far away land from Brazil, yet it is not beyond the reach of Zika Virus and it’s potentially devastating effects, according to Dr John Hagidimitriou, author of the upcoming book “The Zika Virus Guidebook”. Concerns have been raised of possible introduction of Zika Virus into subtropical regions of Australia as competitors converge in Queensland for the IVF Va’a World Elite and Sprint Club Championships this May.
According to Dr John Hagidimitriou, “Zika virus may be introduced into local Australian mosquitoes which may spread the disease from competitors and spectators that attend the IVF Va’a World Elite and Sprint club championships which are currently being held on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland”
This is in line with research collected by Dr Hagidimitriou in his investigations for “The Zika Virus Guidebook” in which researchers initially thought the Zika Virus had been brought to Brazil by a player in the Soccer World Cup Championships, held in Brazil in 2014.
However, there were no countries that competed in the World Cup in 2014 from the Pacific that were endemic with Zika virus during 2014.
Countries that had outbreaks of Zika Virus in 2014 were the following nations: French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Cook Islands and Easter Island. All of these nations were competitors at the Va’a Championships that were held in Brazil in 2014, and Zika Virus may have entered the local mosquito populations of Brazil from these championships.
The concern of Dr John Hagidimitriou is that…..
“As the current event is being held on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland and Australia has Aedes aegypti mosquito populations, which is the mosquito that spreads Zika Virus, these mosquitoes could become infected with Zika Virus if they bite spectators or competitors from countries with current active Zika Virus transmission. This would especially be the case if some of the competitors and spectators travel to areas in Australia where the Aedes aegypti mosquito is found. In this way, Zika Virus could become endemic in Australia. This means that it could get established and begin to spread.”
Dr Hagidimitriou’s comments are echoed by Dr Didier Musso, a French infectious diseases specialist based in French Polynesia.
Who in a letter to the Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal had written the following:
“in August 2014, the Va’a World Sprint Championship canoe race was held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Four Pacific countries (French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Cook Islands, and Easter Island) in which Zika Virus circulated during 2014 had teams engaged in this contest in several categories. These data combined with phylogenetic studies by Zanluca et al. suggest that Zika Virus introduction in Brazil may have been a consequence of this event.”
As the world braces for the spread of Zika Virus with it’s unknown effects on unborn children, Dr Hagidimitriou from TheZikaVirusGuidebook.com urges caution amongst those travellers from areas endemic with Zika virus, so they do not inadvertently spread the disease to currently untouched nations.
Visit www.TheZikaVirusGuidebook.com for more information.
The Zika Virus Guidebook
Dr John Hagidimitriou
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