By Miriam Raftery
Photo, left: Centers for Disease Control
January 2, 2016 (San Diego)—Though threats of terror attacks have captured headlines, fast-spreading diseases carried by tiny mosquitoes may pose serious danger to far more people in the western hemisphere. These include Zika virus, Dengue Fever, Chikungunya, Yellow Fever, and West Nile Virus.
Before May 2015, Zika virus had occurred only in Africa, Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands. But the virus has spread rapidly and has now been contracted in 13 countries or territories in the Americas. In Brazil, where over a million cases of Zika have occurred, the virus has been linked to 3,000 babies born with brain damage known as microcephaly. Ominously, new research now suggests Zika virus can now be sexually transmitted from a patient bitten by a mosquito carrying the virus to a partner.