Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:

Feature

Questions your patients may have about Zika virus

BMJ 2016; 352 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i649 (Published 02 February 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;352:i649

Rapid Response:

Re: Questions your patients may have about Zika virus

While the WHO's recent declaration of the Zika virus as a public health emergency is certainly warranted, especially in those countries where mosquitoes are prevelant, it seems that many in the media are using it as another opportunity to scare the public.

One presenter on the radio posited that, while areas might not have the right climate for mosquitoes, the virus could be transmitted by mosquitoes travelling in taxis (as was the case in Johannesburg); the implication was that mosquitoes might start spreading the virus in the UK.

It seems expedient that the public in the UK be made aware of the proportion of this virus. We should not be harbingers of doom; rather establishing a sense of proportion would be salient here. Ultimately, having too much emphasis on disease that is unlikely to affect the local population serves to detract from those far more pressing.

Competing interests: No competing interests

09 February 2016
Michael B. Blank
Medical student
Birmingham