AMC Command Surgeon discusses the Zika threat

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT)  One of the things that is really scaring people lately is the Zika virus outbreak.  Mosquito born illnesses are especially worrisome during the spring and summer months when the insects really start to bite.  So far, the only cases of the virus reported in Alabama have come from people contracting it while travelling.  This week the Army Materiel Command’s Command Surgeon, or Chief Medical Officer, Colonel Andrew Kim stopped by WHNT News 19 to talk about the very real possibility of the outbreak coming to us.

In comparison to Ebola, which had a 30-50 percent chance of lethality, the mortality rate of Zika is negligible.  The real fear of the Zika virus is the increase in micro-cephalic babies being born to pregnant women infected with Zika.  Col. Kim stated that, “90 to 95 percent of the time we just get a little bit sick for a few days but then we get over it. The challenge with the Zika is that the rate of transmission seems to be fairly rapid and nobody dies from it. What it affects is that right now, many people have realized is that in Brazil as it was being tracked in 2015 it had an increase in micro-cephalic babies being born, and that’s the scary part is that people who are pregnant, or get pregnant have a much higher chance of developing a congenital disease for their child, and that’s where the fear comes from.”

Living in the southern parts of the United States means mosquitoes are a part of your daily life, which makes mosquito born illnesses particularly scary.  Zika is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito.  This species of mosquito is known to feed all day long unlike other species that feed at dawn and dusk.  Col. Kim says that, “It’s hard to kill them or eradicate them because they can live in a discarded plastic cup and then as long as there is fresh standing water in your neighborhood…they can reproduce in that small puddle of water.”

View our entire conversation with Col. Andrew Kim here in three parts:



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