In Focus: Zika virus 2019
The initial sporadic appearance of Zika infection was followed by the epidemic outbreaks of 2015-2018 (Actuality 2016, Actuality 2017, Actuality 2018), at diverse geographical locations. This acceleration in Zika spread point to interdependent biological, ecological, economic and social factors easing the emergence of epidemic hot spots.
The frequency of vector-borne (e.g. arboviral) infections (and the consequential diseases) can be paralleled to the severeity of climate change effects, a background to so many controversial and complex environmental manifestations of our days. Further, when it comes to climate change effects, we're back again to the biological, ecological, economic and social factors influencing Zika epidemics.
After its variable strength and pace over the centuries behind, nowadays, climate change has already entered our life. That is, scientific overviews and practical implementation plans should stem from careful consideration.
Instead of Chile, the UN Climate Conference in December 2019 was eventually hosted by Madrid (COP25/2-13 December, 2019). From an eco-economic point of view, Chile's involvement would have been allegorical because, despite of Chile's very low emissions in terms of greenhouse gases (mostly CO2), the calculated risk factors related to climate change and its consequences show significant impact on this country, too (Climate Risk Index 2017 - page 7/Table 2; page 22/Table 6; page 26/Table 7).
According to a WHO summary in 2018(1), the warming in temperature of the earth's atmosphere (toposphere) was recorded by almost 0.85 oC higher (according to other sources by 1,1oC higher) for the last 130 years. Included, the gradual rise in average temperature of the last three decades has far exceeded the values of those recorded since 1850 (ecological footprint of industrial revolution and of mass production, all supported by fossile energy ...).
So, (macro) climate change traced back to economic and civilization history is here with us, its global prevalence (1-6) is observed in our common home, on planet EARTH by the:* increased frequency of fluctuations in temperature, storms-droughts-thaws-floods,
* context of biogeographical transformation in regions concerned,
* threat on secure healthy water,
* reduced yields or fading of cultivated cereals,
* migration or extinction of wildlife native to deprived areas,
* geographical displacement of terrestrial biomes (ecosystems corresponding to given climate zones),
* appearance of unknown or non-native infectious diseases,
* psychosomatic touch of human (animal? plant?) populations suffering from climate change.
Besides, in terms of its complex effects, special attention should be paid to the currently irreversible release of greenhouse gases (mainly CO2, CH4 due to extensive deforestation, burning, opening of permafrost craters), to the anthropogenic origin of insoluble and soluble waste, air pollution, water and soil contamination.
2. The 1.5 Health Report (Synthesis On Health & Climate Science In The IPCC SR1.5)
3. The Lancet Countdown on health and climate change: from 25 years of inaction to a global transformation for public health (Watts N. + 62 authors: Lancet 391: 581-630. 2018)
4. Cyril Caminade et al (2019): Impact of recent and future climate change on vector-borne diseases (Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1436: 157-173.)
5. Suarez D.R. (+ 33 authors: 2019) Estimating aboveground net biomass change for tropical and subtropical forests: Refinement of IPCC default rates using forest plot data (Global Change Biology DOI: 10.1111/gcb.14767)
Summarizing those above, one can conclude that populations' responses to Zika (and other arbovirus) infections are de facto under multifactorial (biological, ecological, economic and social) influences. Clarifying the questions raised by epidemiological and clinical experiences, and, correct answering them in practice, all provide examples for successful adaptive response to environmental changes.
Now, when getting back to the questions of 2018, namely:
Zika neurotropism: what is going on there?
Zika virus contra immune system elements: what is going on there?
... let's begin with the first one: