Mosquitoes continue to prove they are important disease transmission vectors. The Asian Tiger Mosquito (Aedes albopictus) transmitting “Chikungunya” and the Yellow Fever & Zika Mosquito (Aedes aegypti), Malaria (Anopholes spp.) are but a few diseases which we may hear more about with global warming and additionally assist in their becoming popular in everyday conversation. Zika is however one of the mosquito borne diseases which gives us, or should give us, little concern. Like H1N1 (Swine Flu), how do we discern which are the important, novel, newly emerging or re-emerging viral diseases?! From the physician to the lay-person, the best rules for making these distinctions are as follows:
- How severe is the disease to the masses – for example, toxoplasmosis infects 25% of Americans. Some parts of the world are at 95%. It has brain disease effects on infants similar to Zike but is not responded to in “Zike-alarm” manners. All ages are susceptible to Toxoplasmosis (T. gondii) but few manifest. It is treatable by antibiotics similar to malaria treatment when needed.
- What is the method of transmission – if difficult to transmit, how many people engage in this behavior? Hard to differentiate because Ebola is an alarming disease, has adapted to infect people much more easily, and the vaccine solution to the problem is weak vs. a total isolation and intense counter-measures. This has lost popularity but percolates all the while (I went to the Congo to research its jumping spp. into swine in 2012 – this is alarming as many more people have contact with swine [whole economies] than monkey blood or infected ebola patients.
- Is there a history of disease management which can be smoothly integrated into new ranges of the disease?
These are knee-jerk responses to the issue but because there are many novel disease which seriously threaten mankind, we need clear guidance. A formula of observation and making clear distinctions is due. This article does not profess to provide a formula- only food for thought and caution of usury by big pharma, biomedical institutions and government fear mongering which favors funding and support streams of these businesses.