As you might have heard over the weekend, locally transmitted Zika cases have descended in Singapore. From 1 on Sunday, 41 on Monday, and now a total of 56 on Tuesday, you might perhaps still not be terribly worried if you aren’t pregnant, or know anyone who is or might be pregnant. But perhaps we should be more concerned.
Earlier this month, an article in the Independent reported that the Zika virus could have Alzheimer’s-like effect in adults. Now, let’s not get too carried away, because it’s still far too early and indeed, as the article states, more work must be done to establish how lasting the damage might be. The study has so far only been done on mice, and it’s not certain that the behaviour observed in mice would apply to humans.
Experiments on adult mice engineered to mimic human Zika infection showed that the virus seems to attack cells linked to learning and memory. The effect could be comparable to those experienced by Alzheimer’s patients.
Until now, the Zika virus has been primarily linked to microcephaly, a serious defect where babies are born with small heads and with brain damage. Hence, the concern over Zika for pregnant women, while others may perhaps be less worried.
So perhaps this new finding, whether or not it pans out to be a major health concern, is a reminder for all of us to do our part to stamp out mosquitoes. Dengue is already a problem that we have to deal with every year, don’t let another problem pile on. Mosquitoes carry numerous infectious diseases, so, you know, getting rid of them is like killing many birds with one stone.