Why has the Zika virus disappeared in the US ?

Mosquito repellentMosquito Repellent Reviews – Zika virus status in August 2017

There is only one case of locally transmitted Zika cases in the US this year ! This contrasts with hundreds of cases last year … Furthermore, in 2017, US CDC has recorded only 200 travel-related cases. And even more important, according to experts, this relapse could last up to one decade  YES one decade ! It’s interesting to note that very very few scientists predicted such adrupt decline. The main reason is not the efforts to control (e.g. mosquito repellent) or kill the mosquitos and other prevention measures, but what immunologists call “herd immunity”. It means natural immunity of the population in infected areas that reduces the number of susceptible people so the virus could no longer be transmitted between humans and mosquitoes.

Although the virus could have disappeared for years, some scientists still believe that Zika will still thrive in susceptible populations leading to outbreaks in some areas. Indeed, transmission persists at low levels in some parts of Latin America.

In conclusion, despite the sharp decline of Zika, we should keep the prevention measures and maintain our vigilance. A vaccine is entering a placebo-controlled trial with 2400 subjects but, unfortunately, has little chance to succeed due to the low numbers of newly infected people.

Adapted from Science publication Vol. 357, Issue 6352, pp. 631-632 (August 18, 2017)

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