Combating the Zika virus: A story map

February 29, 2016  - By 0 Comments
The aedes albopictus mosquito feeding on a human host. The aedes aegypti mosquito also spreads Zika. (Photo: CDC)

The aedes albopictus mosquito feeding on a human host. The aedes aegypti mosquito also spreads Zika. (Photo: CDC)

The latest scourge to beleaguer humankind is the Zika virus, an insect vector-borne disease commonly transmitted through Aedes (aegypti and albopictus) mosquitos. Less commonly, Zika can be transmitted from mother to child during pregnancy, causing microcephaly, a severe birth defect. Zika is also the possible culprit in outbreaks of Guillain-Barré syndrome.

Zika is endemic to parts of Africa and Asia, but over the past months a large number of locally acquired cases (estimated between 400,000 and 1.3 million according to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control) have been discovered in Brazil, where the disease had been previously unknown. The number of cases and the locations of the outbreak qualify Zika as a rapidly growing epidemic threat. Human and mosquito travelers have transmitted the disease subsequently to an additional 13 countries throughout the Americas, transforming Zika into a region-wide pandemic and causing the World Health Organization to label it an international health emergency.

In response, Direct Relief is reaching out to its network partners to offer resources such as painkillers, insect repellent and birth control. The non-profit organization also created an Esri story map that shows the predicted distribution of both Aedes mosquitos, the countries that have current active transmissions, and Direct Relief’s partners within those countries.

Information in the story map was collated from HealthMap, eLife, Google, Esri, DeLorme, NGA and USGS sources.

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Tracy Cozzens

About the Author:

Tracy Cozzens has served as managing editor of GPS World magazine since 2006. She also is editor of GPS World’s newsletters and the sister website Geospatial Solutions. She has worked in government, for non-profits, and in corporate communications, editing a variety of publications for audiences ranging from federal government contractors to teachers.

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