South Africa’s infected mosquito population outnumbers healthy ones, deadly outbreak continues

On Wednesday, FOX News reported on the worsening South African Zika outbreak. Thanks to a boom in infection rates among South African teens and 20-somethings, as well as local overuse of anti-retroviral drugs, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that more than 150,000 South Africans will suffer from Zika by the end of the year.

And thanks to the State of Emergency issued by South African president Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday, additional infectious diseases will be emerging as a result.

Africa24 reported the number of Zika cases quadrupled after the declaration of the State of Emergency on Tuesday. According to South African media outlets, the number of cases involving potentially-infected pregnant women more than doubled as authorities have been forced to quarantine pregnant women with the virus, as well as those pregnant women who have recently traveled to outbreak zones.

“South Africans were shocked with the announcement, and many are discussing the causes of the increase and why the situation has gone from bad to worse,” said Laúshaya, a South African in the Cape Town area. “President Ramaphosa’s announcement has truly made people panic because they are talking about their countries rolling out communal quarantine, quarantine of pregnant women, and preventing people from leaving the affected areas.”

Experts are warning that overuse of anti-retroviral medications by South African patients might be a contributing factor to the South African spike in the number of cases.

According to Michael Regan at Africa24, an additional 20 percent of all deliveries in the month of October were attributed to mothers using anti-retroviral drugs to combat HIV. When asked, Regan explained that the increased need for anti-retroviral medications means that patients run the risk of developing drug resistance, the dangerous condition where the drugs don’t do their job and don’t work at all.

“If the surge of Zika continues, South Africa will experience an unprecedented population that will likely be significantly more at risk of birth defects and neurological disorders,” Lezli Esselel of the Children’s Hospital of Southern Cape said.

Though no official cause of the surge has been determined, an estimated 100 people have died as a result of the severe outbreak over the past seven weeks, said Zanele Benjamin of the African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF). Benjamin told Africa24 that experts estimate there will be an additional 1,000 cases of death by the end of the year, and she indicated that many of the deaths occurred from unidentified causes.

A view of the mosquito-breeding area outside… #Zika fears appear to be high in #Maritzburg_ #SouthAfrica @School_WillAgain @PolyWorld_Media @News24SouthAfrica

Posted by SAD South Africa on Thursday, November 29, 2018

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