Environmental Hygiene, Solution To Zika Virus
PROFESSOR Sunday Aremu Omilabu, a virologist at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba, has said that the effective solution to Zika Virus is strict environmental hygiene, as the virus has no drug and vaccine for now.
Omilabu stated that if Nigerians want to eliminate Zika Virus, they must wage war against mosquitoes to eliminate them completely, to avoid transmitting the virus because mosquitoes also transmit yellow fever, dengue fever, chikungunya disease, west Nile fever, rift valley fever among other diseases.
He said: “Zika Virus is a virus transmitted by mosquitoes; essentially, Zika Virus has been linked with aedes aegypti and aedes africanus. Aedes aegyptis mosquitoes are very common in urban settings and in the cities, while aedes africanus are very common in the forest.
“Zika Virus, essentially, was isolated in Zika Forest, where it derives its name in Uganda in 1947. As we know Zika Virus belongs to the family of yellow fever group.
“As far back as late 50s, we have been talking about Zika Virus in Nigeria. Evidence abounds that samples were collected from South West Nigeria by group of Virologists working in laboratory in Lagos, made this discovery and they reported it in 1958. In 1975 the virus also reported among the children in Nigeria especially in Southwest, which affected both human and domestic animals”.
Omilabu noted that vectors that carry Zika Virus are found here and mingle with us. He said for the reason why we have not heard about Zika Virus until now, has to do with fact that there is so much war done against viruses generally, in Nigeria especially World Health Organisation (WHO), and other donor agencies to fight viruses.
He said: “For instance poliomyelitis and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) are being managed by donor agencies. If you conduct medical test for most Nigerians, you find out there is anti Zika Virus and other viruses in their body”.
“It is not only pregnant women are affected by Zika Virus, but affects every body. Mosquitoes bite everybody, but pregnant women are at risk because of vector they carry where it is located in the placenta”.
“Now that we know pregnant women are at risk, they should stay in a environment free of mosquitoes because as we speak there is no drug or vaccine for Zika Virus. But only solution is to fight mosquitoes, not allow them in the rooms and in gatherings.
“Nigerians should be very calm no cause for alarm when it comes for Zika Virus because we have been living with it for years. I believe a lot of Nigerians have immunity to Zika Virus. As we know Zika Virus is only important when it comes to pregnant women but for adult and children they have the immunity”.
“Health worker should continue to educate people so, that they would be aware that there is Zika Virus and only solution is environmental hygiene”.