Global climate change, international travel, and ineffective vector control programs are aiding the emergence of infectious diseases globally. The currently expanding Zika virus (ZIKV) epidemic is one such problem. The rapid expansion of this disease to epidemic proportions in South America in 2015-16 has led the World Health Organization to declare ZIKV a public health emergency on February 1, 2016.
Two main reasons behind this are suspected association of the virus to cases of microcephaly in children born of ZIKV-infected mothers and Guillain- Barré syndrome (GBS) — an autoimmune disease that may occasionally lead to a fatal form of paralysis.
ZIKV is transmitted primarily by two mosquito vectors:
1) Aedes aegypti, prevalent mostly in tropical climates, and
2) Aedes albopictus which ranges in the Americas up to the Great Lakes. Mass gatherings like carnivals and Olympics, from where infected visitors may carry the virus to their countries around the globe, have the potential of expanding ZIKV infection into pandemics.
No drug is known to treat ZIKV infection; neither do we have any vaccine which can prevent the spread of the virus. While scientists and global health authorities are trying to cope with the situation, computer-assisted approaches itemized below may help as decision support systems:
Read More: Science Daily