Kansas University’s international researchers’ group has created a new world map in which they have marked the areas that are prone to Zika virus attacks.
In the journal Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz , the map was published online. Lead author Abdallah Samy said that it indicated the different regions where the transmission of the virus is predictable. “It’s the first detailed map that weighs different drivers of transmission,” he said. “We assessed different combinations of variables to see what the major drivers are – such as climate or socioeconomics or people’s ability to access certain areas – and in the final map, we merge all the variables.”
Ecological niche modeling was used in creating the map. This is a technique that helps in predicting the distribution of species throughout the world. The method was preferred in this case, so that the ability of the virus to spread could be figured out in Central and South America.
The map indicates the possibility of Zika virus to spread in the coming years. This has been done by dividing the landmass of the planet into squares of 5 km * 5 km each. Sci News mentioned that there are several modes of transmission through which the virus can infect a person. One is by traveling to areas where Zika is prominently found, two by sexual intercourse, three from a mother carrying a child to her newborn and four, through blood transfusion.
“For each area, we asked, ‘Is it mosquito exposure, climate or socioeconomic variables like accessibility for people to travel from areas where Zika is endemic and spread the virus upon their return?'” Samy said.
“It’s also intended for the public. If you’re going to travel to a specific area in Brazil and you know it’s a risk area for Zika, you should consider how to reduce the chances of transmission with clothing or insect repellent,” he added.
Wired specified the Map Index
- Grey – Regions that are less likely to cause the infection in locales
- Purple – Regions that are prone to Zika virus attack due to socioeconomic access reasons
- Orange – Regions that are prone to Zika virus attack due to environmental reasons
- Blue – Regions that are prone to Zika virus attack due to all these factors in some way