Researchers Believe That A Little Known Mosquito-Borne Virus May Become The Next Zika
Most people can name several different mosquito-borne diseases. The most well known mosquito-borne diseases include the Zika virus, the West Nile virus, malaria, yellow fever and maybe the chikungunya virus. Although these diseases have historically been given the most attention on account of the epidemics that have occured in the past, these are far from being the only mosquito-borne diseases that have been documented throughout history. An eight year old Haitian boy has recently contracted a rare mosquito-borne disease that some experts think may become all too common in the future. This disease is known as the Mayaro virus.
The Mayaro virus was first discovered and documented in 1954 in Trinidad. This mosquito-borne virus was discovered after several forest-workers in Trinidad fell ill from the virus. Since then, the Mayaro virus has not gone on to infect large populations, and the virus could be considered quite rare. However, South America has seen a few Mayaro outbreaks since 1954. The virus has infected people living near the Amazon rainforest in Brazil. The virus is spread by a tree-dwelling mosquito species that typically feeds on monkey blood-meals. A new study suggests that this virus may currently be underdiagnosed, and it could become more prevalent in the future.
The Mayaro virus is a close relative of the chikungunya virus and its symptomology is largely the same. Mayaro causes fever, joint pain and muscle pain that can be acute and can last for weeks. In addition to this unpleasant symptom, Mayaro symptoms are similar to those of the flu. Typically, Mayaro disease is not a concern to public health professionals. However, this has changed after a boy living in the Caribbean became infected with Mayaro. American medical researchers detected the mosquito-borne disease in the boy after he was wrongly diagnosed with typhoid fever. Public health experts are now on the lookout for the Mayaro virus, and the researchers confirmed that the virus is currently circulating among Caribbean islands.
Do you think that if another mosquito-borne disease epidemic occurs, the disease will be a rare and largely unknown one, like Zika was?