What Efforts Are Being Made to Further Understand the Zika Virus?
DEC 29, 2016 | CONTAGION EDITORIAL STAFF
Daniel Eiras, MD, MPH, hospital epidemiologist at NYU Langone Medical Center, discusses efforts to understand the Zika virus.
Interview Transcript (slightly modified for readability)
“With relation to Zika, there are still many unknowns. We don’t know how robust the epidemic is going to be this coming winter, or this coming summer in the southern hemisphere. It all depends on the mosquito abatement programs that the various countries have put together. So, all we can do is be prepared for the types of patients that we see traveling to or coming from those areas.
We [also] don’t know a significant amount about asymptomatic carriers of Zika, as well as the amount of time that Zika can survive in various tissues of the body, like semen and breastmilk. Those are things that we need to understand much better with further research and further surveillance.
We’ve developed this centralized process for screening and surveillance, and we plan to continue that. We are concerned that if we see increased numbers of positive patients through this winter and spring, that’s going to put a strain on certain areas that are of high activity in the hospital, in particular the emergency department and the neonatal intensive care unit. Those are areas that we want to keep a close eye on and that we have the resources necessary for them.”
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