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A Global System to Fight Viruses Is Needed지카 바이러스 감염 예방
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승인 2016.04.01  15:38:41
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▲ A mosquito which carries the Zika virus

    The Zika virus which is suspected as the cause of microcephaly in Brazil is spreading across the world. This outbreak has raised fear and concern among many people. Unfortunately, this is not the first time that we have heard the news about an epidemic frightening the world. In 2014, the Ebola virus attacked Africa and soon it spread to other countries. In 2015, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) once again scared all nations and killed 150 people. Those viruses were unknown until it appeared and harmed many people.
    What would be the problem with these viruses? First of all, it is difficult to predict when it comes to epidemic diseases so it makes hard to prevent ahead of time. All we can do is to deal with the symptoms flexibly and quickly when it hits a country. The failures of the Korean government during the MERS outbreak showed the importance of the health community system and the policies in regard to it. People were able to witness the devastation of a country with an advanced health system. In order to deal well with such new diseases, there must be a solid system to prepare for the mass damage and highly trained staff but there are not many countries that have this kind of management system in place.
    Secondly, the viruses and diseases travel all over the world. We are now living in a world that a certain virus or disease does not stay in one place but spreads to other places due to developed public transportation and the movement of people. In the case of Zika, a male teenager who visited Brazil has contacted the virus, according to Japanese Health Ministry. Brazil and Japan are located halfway around the world yet humans, insects, plants and many other factors could be the vehicle for the spread of the virus.
    There often are limited vaccines or even no vaccines at all, so it is best not to get infected but there is nothing individuals can do. Staying home to minimize the possibilities of contacting the infected or virus particles is one of the best options. Washing hands and cleaning will help prevent the spread of the virus as well. Other than that, people mostly lean on their government to control it. As mentioned above, however, it is not easy to detect the cause and seek to stop it. Prompt reactions and providing the right information to the people is necessary to solve this problem at the national level.
    An epidemic is not something to cover up by one national government anymore. Once it spreads, it goes out big time all over the world. To prevent the proliferation of the virus, we need international efforts and seek for the best solution to stop it and cure it. Delays will make the problem worse and rumors related to the issue will spread through Social Networking Services and the Internet could produce an atmosphere of panic. Prompt but right decisions must be arranged or by the time the support arrives, it will already be too late to solve it. International organizations such as WHO should recognize the seriousness of the spread and urge countries to have staff that are fully aware of the emergency that should be trained to prepare for an emergency and increasing damages. Also, national governments should reinforce the national defense on health issues with technical experts and funds to practice.

By Kim Hae-in, Guest Reporter

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