Sunday, October 9, 2016

Mayaro Virus Causes Increased Concern Amongst Scientists

There seems to be a virus that has many scientists are turning their attention to recently—the Mayaro virus. Mayaro is mosquito-borne virus in the Togaviridae family that was first identified in 1954 in Trinidad. While it has not caused the same impact and commotion as say Zika or Ebola have, this relative of the Chikungunya virus is causing concern due to its similarity to chikungunya and dengue.

While Mayaro has typically only been found in certain areas around the Amazon, recent diagnoses of an 8-year-old Haitian boy increased the concerns from scientists. The director of the Emerging Pathogen Institute at U of Florida, Glenn Morris, commented on how, “We need to recognize that while Zika understandably has all the attention, it’s not the first virus to move through in epidemic form, nor is it going to be the last.” Considering how viral diseases such as Ebola and Zika spiraled throughout different areas in an epidemic manner, scientists believe that Mayaro has a similar capability to be the new hot topic, which is something that is obviously undesirable. So far the 8-year-old is the only known case so the scientists don’t want to jump to conclusions but they believe that if another case is detected then it can be an alarm for growing concern within the Caribbean region. With viral epidemics, it is hard to detect the source before they become, well an epidemic, so these scientists’ concerns are very much real and may be enough to stop Mayaro from infecting more individuals.

-Jeanette Rios 

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