What no one is telling you about Zika: Yap Island breakout and ‘mutant mosquitoes’

Today, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that the Zika Virus is spreading ‘explosively’, sounding the world on high alarm as the virus has now been detected in over 20 countries.

What’s more is that one WHO scientist has estimated that the level of Zika infections could hit 3 to 4 million Zika over the next year.

Sounds scary huh? 

However, this is not the first time that there has been an outbreak of Zika virus.

The first reported outbreak of Zika Virus occurred in 2007 on the Yap  Islands located in the Pacific Ocean, which forms as a part of the Federated States of Micronesia.

The outbreak on the Yap Islands was the first time the virus was detected outside of Africa and Asia. 

The 2007 outbreak on Yap Island infected approximately 75% of the population 3 years and older.

The infection was also widespread across the entire island, with estimates of over 900 people infected. 

Research on the island found that while some patients  experienced rash, conjunctivitis, and arthralgia, fever was reported in all cases of the illness. 

In the aftermath of the outbreak on Yap Island, it was also discovered that Zika was linked to Guillain-Barré syndrome, a paralyzing neurological condition.

In late 2012, approximately six years later, there was another Zika outbreak in the in French Polynesia.

According to Fortune Magazine, a genetic analysis conducted on the strain of  Zika in Brazil was found to be similar to the strain on Yap Island and in French Polynesia.

Differing theories exist as to how the virus was spread to the South American, the most popular of which pinpoints the Zika virus' arrival to an event held in Rio de Janeiro in August of 2014, which hosted competitors from various Pacific islands. 

Irrespective of how the virus is spread, since the earlier outbreaks scientist, have already begun working on how to stop  the spread of the disease. 

Thus British biotechnology company, Oxitec, has already  created a genetically modified mosquito, dubbed by some as a 'mutant mosquito', which has been designed to stop the spread of Zika.

 OX513A is the name given to the genetically modified male mosquito, 

According to Oxitec, a field test was conducted to test the effectiveness of the modified mosquito in 2011.

The test proved successful,  eliminating up to 99% of the target population.

So far the OX513A mosquito has also been tested in the Cayman Islands, Malaysia, and Panama.

Last year, the company announced plans to build a mosquito production facility in Piracicaba, Brazil it is expected to help 300,000 residents.

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