By Doctor Joe Alton – Doom and Bloom
One of the scenarios we write about is the “Pandemic”. Although we have had success curing many illnesses with antibiotics, we are still struggling with outbreaks of viral diseases. In 2014, thousands died in West Africa during the Ebola epidemic. In 2015, Chikungunya virus crossed the Atlantic into the Western Hemisphere and infected a million people. This year, Zika virus is the latest pandemic, and the first to generate travel warnings specifically for women that are pregnant or of childbearing age.
A little-known virus of equatorial Africa and Asia, the Zika virus has “jumped the pond” and is wreaking havoc in South America, especially among pregnant women and their newborns. Like its predecessors, it’s a mosquito-borne virus. Citizens of the Americas have little immunity against it.
Most people experience mild flu-like symptoms, but an infected during a pregnancy can yield a newborn with brain damage. In late 2015, it was mainly a Brazilian problem. A congenital abnormality (once called a “birth defect”) called microcephaly started appearing among newborns. Microcephaly presents as an abnormally small head and is associated with mental handicaps; if severe, it may be incompatible with life.