Zika Virus in Brazil

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ZikaVirus in Brazil

ZikaVirus in Brazil

Brazilis located in the South America along the eastern coast, by theAtlantic Ocean. It has huge reservoirs of water, minerals, and thelargest forest cover on the planet (McNeil, 2016). It has apopulation of about 201 million people distributed across a federaldistrict and 26 states. According to census results in the year 2010,67.6% of the population is aged between 15 years and 64 years while25.6% of the population is less than 15 years. The rest is above 65years and above. The demographic growth rate was about 1.17%. Up to84% of the population resides in urban areas (McNeil, 2016). Infantmortality rate in the year 2008 was 23.3 per 1000 births, while lifeexpectancy was 76.7 years for women and 69.1 for men (McNeil, 2016).Brazil has a GDP of about 2 trillion US dollars while the GDP percapita is about 10,500 US dollars. It is among the biggest economiesin the world and the largest in Latin America. The public healthsystem in Brazil is provided and managed by all levels of thegovernment. The health services provided are free and universal toall citizens (McNeil, 2016).

Overviewof the Zika Virus Infection

Zikavirus infection, a disease little known to the public healthprofessionals, physicians, and policymakers around the world, spreadrapidly within the American countries after an outbreak in Brazil(McNeil, 2016). The WHO announced a public health exigency ofinternational concern. This concern was raised after there was atremendous increase in the number of infection related to the Zikavirus and the link between the Zika infection and the congenitalanomalies resulting in neurological disorders among the newborns(McNeil, 2016). These cases of defects were first reported in Brazil.By February 2016, up to 18 countries had confirmed many cases linkedto the virus (McNeil, 2016).

TheZika virus is an RNA virus that is single stranded and it belongs tothe Flaviviridae family (Shors, 2017). Transmission to humans occursthrough bites from mosquitoes. The virus is related to the yellowfever virus (Shors, 2017). Once the transmission occurs, the virusremains in the vector for the rest of its lifespan, where it can betransmitted in subsequent blood meals (Shors, 2017). The virus hasbeen linked to microcephaly in newborns and neurological disorders.

RiskFactors and Consequences

Therisk factors include traveling or living in regions or areas thathave experienced outbreaks of the infection and having unprotectedsex (McNeil, 2016). Living or traveling to subtropical or tropicalregions exposes one to the virus. High-risk areas include SouthAmerica, some countries in Central America, and the Pacific regions(Shors, 2017). Isolated cases of the infection being transmittedsexually have been reported. CDC advises women to completely abstainfrom any form of sexual contact especially during pregnancy or usecondoms (Shors, 2017). The disease may cause microcephaly, a braindamaging congenital condition, and miscarriages. The virus may alsocause the Gullain-Barre syndrome (McNeil, 2016).

EpidemiologicalData of the Infection in Brazil

Thefirst cases of the disease were reported in 2015. In 2016, 2,306municipalities had published many suspected Zika virus infectionsacross the 27 federal units (“Microcephaly and Zika,” 2017). Bythe year 2017, the highest incident rate was noted in the states ofthe Central-west regions of Brazil. The state of Mato Grosso reportedthe highest rate of 663 cases per 100,000 people. Between 2016 and2017, 17,069 suspected cases of the infection in expectant motherswere reported. Out of all these cases, 11,059 were confirmed(“Microcephaly and Zika,” 2017). In 2016, there was an increasein the number of hospitalizations due to Guillain-Barre syndrome ascompared to 2015. The period of the increase coincided with virus’peak period. Between 2015 and 2016, 10,867 suspected cases ofcongenital malformations and microcephaly were reported. Out of allthese, 2,336 were confirmed (“Microcephaly and Zika,” 2017).

GoalStatement for the Problem of Zika Virus Infection in Brazil

Ourgoal is to prevent cases of microcephaly and congenital abnormalitiesin newborn babies. Brazilian women of childbearing ages will betrained on how to prevent mosquito bites, advised on how to avoidacquiring the infection through sexual contact, and screening duringpregnancy will be increased by up to 90% within the next five years.During the same period, expectant women and the general population inthe virus prone areas will also be given treated mosquito nets andvital information provided before traveling to other Zika proneregions.


Zikavirus infection outbreak in Brazil presented an enormous publichealth challenge. The consequences of the disease were noted by theincreased number of suspected and confirmed cases. The cases ofneurological disorders and microcephaly were high. Local andinternational public officials should put in place measures toprevent future outbreaks.


McNeil,D. G. (2016). Zika:the emerging epidemic.New York: W.W. Norton &amp Company.

Microcephalyand Zika virus: a clinical and epidemiological analysis of thecurrent outbreak in Brazil. (n.d.). Retrieved March 21, 2017, fromhttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27049675

Shors,T. (2017). Understandingviruses.Burlington (Mass.): Jones &amp Bartlett Learning.