Preparedness for the Zika Virus: A Public Health Emergency

Preparedness for the Zika Virus: A Public Health Emergency

Abstract

The World Health Organization (WHO) has categorized Zika virus a public health emergency concern. Most health agencies around the world have also designed and proposed different measures aimed at increasing their preparedness and intervention in case of an outbreak in a specific country. For instance, the U.S State Department of health issued travel advisories limiting the citizens, especially pregnant women, from travelling to nations with cases of Zika. Notably, the emphasis on expectant women can be comprehended from the fact that Zika has a relation with neurological disorders mostly common in women (Petersen, Wilson, Touch, McCloskey, Mwaba, Bates, & Azhar, 2016). This paper aims at analyzing various public health concerns and response to Zika virus in different parts of the world. With the spread of the virus currently reported in 25 countries around the world, emergency programs to help in curbing the potential impacts is a requisite condition. To many medical professionals, the virus, just like the dengue and Chikungunya, is spread through mosquitos (specifically, the Aedes aegyti). This explains why most countries are against mass gatherings, for example, the future Olympic Games in Brazil. The spread of the virus is already a challenging experienced in most of these countries. The arbovirus Zika infections familiar with mosquito bites will require extensive preparedness and strategies to help reduce the spread. Based on these backgrounds, documents will further various preparedness (intervention) and prevention techniques majorly through risk communication and community engagement. Some of the significant elements that underlay the principles of Zika virus preparedness and management are explicitly analyzed in this document. For instance, countries are introducing community involvement programs, integrated health care systems and self-management support systems, as viable strategies aimed at controlling the spread of Zika virus.          

Possible Intervention

Every country must design appropriate strategies to help in reducing the potential effect and spread of the disease. For instance, the authorities should initiate serious mosquito repellents coupled with introducing protective gadgets in such affected countries. Also, the authorities should consider introducing long-sleeved clothing to the populace to reduce instances of mosquito bites. Moreover, effective insecticide-treated mosquito nets should be introduced and made mandatory to households, especially those with expectant women. Air conditioning of homes will also be helpful in reducing these mosquitos carrying the Zika virus in homes.

Many medical professionals also attribute the spread of Zika to sexual intercourse especially with infected persons. Per se, as a viable strategy, the relevant authorities should consider leading a campaign that promotes healthy and safe sexual behaviors (Lucey, & Gostin, 2016). The authorities should also provide condoms as an expansion program of the health initiatives aimed at curbing the spread of the virus. The campaign should also emphasize on the inherent need to self-protect against mosquito bites and unprotected sexual intercourses. Additionally, training on the best prevention strategies should be offered to health professionals to help in the detection and control of the virus. Routine health check-ups especially when in these countries with reported cases of Zika virus infections are advisable.

Such interventions will be particularly important and advisable to health professionals travelling to offer services in countries with reported cases of Zika virus. Public health agencies have been increasing the availability and distribution of insecticide-treated nets to help in preventing the mosquito bites. The WHO is also considering introducing commercial test kits to help in detecting early symptoms of the Zika virus infections. Effective preparedness for Zika virus is key to preventing the spread and impact of the disease (Lucey, & Gostin, 2016). The spread of the virus is mostly common in mass gatherings, and reducing the threat will be crucial to any country with such future crowds. A comprehensive communication campaign should also be instituted particularly for travelling and pregnant women to help in raising public awareness of the virus (Lucey, & Gostin, 2016). This will entail updating scripts to government call centers especially those with Zika messages. Effective testing for possible cases of the virus is also a viable intervention strategy. Planning to mitigate the virus will help reduce the probability of transmission and subsequent fatalities. Government laboratories should also be engaged in reviewing of the test for possible cases of Zika virus.

Most public health professionals are being called upon to initiate appropriate response to eliminate and control this infectious Zika virus. The response should be decisive, for instance, quarantining persons with Zika virus symptoms to prevent possible spread to other individuals. Being a relatively new public health threat, Zika virus is currently reported in close to 30 countries globally. More resources should also be directed towards combating the virus especially in countries that are yet to record any case of the disease.

Visiting individuals from countries with reported cases of the disease to such ‘Zika-safe’ countries should be screened well before permitting entry. However, such screenings may not be very effective given that there are no proven detectable symptoms of the virus in individuals. Articulate studies and analysis should be conducted to establish the risk and vulnerabilities posed by the virus (Lucey, & Gostin, 2016). Emergency management and effective preparedness will help detect minor symptoms of the disease.

 

Public Health Response to Zika Virus

Given the mild symptoms associated with the virus, various health agencies should consider should adhere to the established respiratory protection procedures to assist in avoiding the transmission of the infectious disease. Call center operators have also been enhanced to record the reported cases off Zika virus outbreak (Lucey, & Gostin, 2016). The emergency response teams have also been receiving relevant training on how to effectively protect themselves when attending to Zika virus patient. In essence, Zika virus being a chronic disease condition, the management should revolve around the provision of patient-centered care services in which the health physician works in an integrated approach with the patients to ensure a sustained quality care treatment for those diagnosed with the condition (Lucey, & Gostin, 2016).

The individualized liability of Zika virus patents conditions is undeniably a challenge to most families and health professionals across the world. In such societies, a number of policies and principles have been instigated focusing strongly on the severity of Zika virus condition and related complications. Similarly, the health care system in most of these countries is being redesigned enhancing and maintaining prevention and management of the virus among patients with proven symptoms. Patients with Zika virus condition in these countries should also be given specialized care and treatment as outlined by the WHO (Lucey, & Gostin, 2016).

Correspondingly, an in-depth analysis and discussions on the principles underlying Zika virus disease management among mental health patients should be accorded due attention.

Notably, Zika virus condition, according to some health professionals in most cases is influenced directly or indirectly by the country’s geographic conditions and are best analyzed based on the management principles discussed by the WHO (Lucey, & Gostin, 2016). For instance, Brazil, with a large forest cover, the deadly Aedes aegyti mosquitos responsible for the spread of the Zika virus are predominant.

Others feasible principles includes; a viable health response and delivery system, decision designs and a comprehensive clinical information system for patient’s data retrieval and storage.

Most of the Zika virus disease patients do suffer from unique conditions that ranges from extreme fever, rashes, joint pains, coupled with conjunctivitis (Lucey, & Gostin, 2016). Most of these symptoms are experienced for a short period raising no serious alarm to seek treatment from the relevant professionals. In addition, the disease can be attributed to the rapid muscle paleness and injury to the peripheral nervous system among patients testing positive of the virus (Lucey, & Gostin, 2016).

When a patient has explicit symptoms of a possibility a severe Zika disease condition, best management procedures should be initiated to avoid the extreme scenarios. Zika virus disease is arguably a rare condition that affects mostly the muscles, and cause damages to the peripheral nervous system of the patient’s body system. The condition is in most cases associated with the personality, behavioral and any other form of health disorders that can be clearly exhibited or detected in individual patients. The signs and symptoms Zika disease condition depends on the rate of exposure and on the body system of a particular patient (Lucey, & Gostin, 2016). The patients, just like any other victims of chronic health conditions will with time go through a range of dramatic body transformations that may be adverse if con properly mitigated.

 Care of person that will be diagnosed with Zika virus

The chronic care model gives an explicit outline of a range of principles of chronic disease management (Zika virus condition). Every government should have the most effective diagnosis and treatment procedures, prevention methods of chronic diseases such as Zika Virus disease (Lucey, & Gostin, 2016). The challenges posed by chronic ailment conditions especially those that are infectious such as Zika cannot be ignored whatsoever, and must be approached with strategic response procedures. An appropriate and relevant preparedness technique arguably agitates for the redesigning of health care services to ensure continuous provision and coordination of quality service delivery to the identified Zika virus patients. Most of the health agencies, in their preparedness to fight Zika virus should consider applying this very model in their treatment and prevention plans (Lucey, & Gostin, 2016).

Remarkably, the good preparedness entails a comprehensive personnel and care programs in the provision of proactive services to persons diagnosed with Zika virus. These include a planned and coordinated schedule for follow up on the patients and to ascertain their progress and response to treatment possibly in quarantine (Lucey, & Gostin, 2016). The strategies should further comprise of a decision support for health care professionals with explicit criteria for management and support of persons with Zika Virus disease. The intervention further stipulates for the availability of relevant information on the treatment and prevention of Zika virus, and should be accessible to healthcare professionals promptly. Effective and sustained support to persons diagnosed with Zika virus should be top priority through the provision of integrated care network services in the identified countries.

Brief overview of the Zika virus management principles

The participation of the community

The community should be at the forefront of promoting intervention programs and support to patients with Zika virus conditions (Lucey, & Gostin, 2016). Communal resources should be mobilized towards the support of these patients to avert possible spread. These health care professionals taking care of Zika virus patients, for instance, should be allowed free access to web-based resource information to help them determine relevant preparedness strategies (Lucey, & Gostin, 2016). The community can be involved in the treatment and caring of patients with Zika virus conditions, provision of quarantine facilities, evaluation and delivery of services to the patients. Similarly, the members of the community may be employed or even volunteer in health institutions to enhance and provide emergency service delivery.

Additionally, the community can be involved in policy formulation and planning procedures on the best way to treat the Zika virus patients (Lucey, & Gostin, 2016). Training and education on the appropriate and relevant ways of dealing with these patients can be provided by community based organizations. Correspondingly, the provision of patient-centered treatments should be based on community support of the Zika virus disease patients. The health providers should first recognize the fact that most of the patients under their watch are better off when encouraged to self-manage their conditions. The right care and at the right place and time should be in the offing to chronic condition patients. The population subgroup targeted should be that with signs and symptoms of a potential Zika Virus disease conditions. Ultimately, a feasible service system response should be put in place to monitor the progress of the patients to medications.

Appropriate health systems

The health settings should be in a position to offer secure and high quality emergency health service care to Zika virus patients under their care (Lucey, & Gostin, 2016). The health system plan should be all-inclusive reflecting a deep commitment to the application of chronic model elements for the betterment of the patients in quarantine. The emergency teams should comprise of a highly dedicated and competent persons able to articulately handle any ensuing error or problem.

Self-management support

Self-management support among Zika virus patients should be encouraged to ensure that the patients are empowered and well prepared to manage their own health conditions (Lucey, & Gostin, 2016). Such will include, reporting possible symptoms to the emergency teams and taking treatment procedures seriously. These patients will be further encouraged to set achievable objectives, identify potential setbacks and screen their health conditions using self-test kits introduced by the WHO (Lucey, & Gostin, 2016). The role of the community in the provision of support and care to Zika virus patients among other chronic health conditions is crucial in the management and care endeavors. The patients must first be identified, screened and diagnosed, and this will involve observing the particular behaviors and characteristics not deemed normal further facilitating the management procedures.

The Zika virus healthcare delivery system designs

This ensures effectiveness and efficiency in the support of the Zika virus patient’s self-management efforts (Lucey, & Gostin, 2016). The principle of delivery system designs defines roles and distributes tasks among the health system team members. The primary essence is the provision of clinical management services for patients with complicated conditions such as Zika virus who requires specialized treatment and strict follow up plans. The patients are first made to understand the particular disease background, and appreciate the treatment procedure prescribed by a health professional (Lucey, & Gostin, 2016).

Decision support

The essence of decision support team is the consistent promotion of health care buoyed with relevant data and information on the patients’ preferences. In such cases, the health providers will be in a good position to access various guidelines and treatment procedures in the caring of Zika virus patients (Lucey, & Gostin, 2016). The guidelines and therapeutic procedures should be shared with the patients under consideration to enhance their participation in the treatment process.

Clinical information systems

All data and information relating to Zika virus patients’ conditions will be organized to facilitate the efficient and effective provision of emergency services to these patients (Lucey, & Gostin, 2016). As a result, the individualized patient care plan will be enhanced as enough information will be available on the Zika virus patients’ health histories.

Possible challenges and medical errors in the emergency preparedness of Zika virus

Medical error is a word used in medicine to describe acts of negligence or omissions in the process of healthcare execution leading to the unintended outcome (Thomas, 2016). Medical error poses severe health problems and threats to most affected patients’ wellbeing, hence being labeled as problems harming most patients worldwide (Thomas, 2016). They are habitually mentioned as human oversights in healthcare. In most cases, medical error occurs when health-care practitioners recommend unsuitable methods for treatments, or inappropriately execute such plans to patients (Thomas, 2016). Different taxonomies have been used to classify various types of medical slips ranging from minor to foremost errors in health-care facilities. Such errors must be avoided at all cost when designing treatment and control techniques especially to Zika virus patient (Thomas, 2016). The possible end results in the treatment of Zika virus patients are vulnerable to numerous medical errors given that it is a new chronic condition that is still under study.

Per se, the potentially high dominance of medical errors especially to new disease cases has in the past created disabilities and complications in the treatment and control procedures.

As such, any form of transformation in policies or introduction of new rules and regulations in the management of Zika virus patients must align to the specific values, virtues and health history of the patients (Thomas, 2016). A patient-centered care system is crucial as it addresses the particular the condition using a long-term personalized therapeutic approach (Thomas, 2016). The chronic management principles of Zika virus patients discussed in this document recognizes the disease history to help redesign or maintain therapeutic treatments. The viability of health delivery system designs is crucial in the service provision and should be sustained in health care institutions providing specialized treatment to persons with John’s condition. In addition, the health providers must ensure that the health record histories are safely stored within the online systems for easy retrieval.

Emergency Preparedness Strategies

The individual families play a significant role in offering the support and empowering the patient diagnosed with Zika virus disease (Thomas, 2016). The WHO recognizes the fundamental role assumed by patient’s families in determining the right time when the medical care is appropriate for a particular family member (Thomas, 2016). This entails encouraging every individual to be on the lookout for possible symptoms exhibited in any of the family members. Given that in most cases it is the family at own discretion make the final decision to send the family member to seek out the appropriate medical care, involving such societal system will be crucial in combating Zika virus (Thomas, 2016). The individual ability to access the healthcare in also relies on the degree of awareness of the possible symptoms associated with Zika virus and proximity to a healthcare center. Therefore, civic education is being introduced in many countries on what an individual should check to ascertain whether a certain condition is related to Zika virus infection. Also, call hotlines to the relevant healthcare providers should be availed to help in emergency cases involving Zika virus diagnosis (Thomas, 2016).

Also, the emergency Zika virus healthcare providers must familiarize themselves with the normative health background of the disease and patients. Due the impossibility of the providers to know everything regarding all the patients, the physicians must recognize the significance of inter-departmental cooperation with other relevant agencies. Such data and information will be provided by the health and disease records personnel (Oduyebo, 2016). Similarly, the health professionals should consider gathering the most appropriate information about the Zika virus from the pertinent medical publications as a practical preparedness strategy. The providers should also learn to interrogate or assess the Zika virus patients using the questions that are related and sensitive to the health context (Oduyebo, 2016). This approach of asking questions will help eliminate the possibility of making errors in the treatment processes of the Zika virus patients.

Health care providers have the inherent ability to ensure that the Zika virus patients increase their ability to be integrated into the mainstream healthcare system of around the world (Oduyebo, 2016). As aforementioned in this document, the responsibility to create awareness amongst the populace on the severity of Zika virus will ensure that the delay in seeking out the consultation with the doctors is reduced. These health professionals will also explain the positive outcome consulting health providers when symptoms of Zika virus are identified in an individual (Oduyebo, 2016). The Zika virus patients’ healthcare uptake will increase and will also enhance their medical insurance coverage.

Conclusion

In essence, understanding the history and background of Zika virus is a vital stage in the preparedness and control policies. In addition, as postulated in this document, comprehending the health and healthcare systems of the Zika virus patients is useful in assisting the care providers with the information that is necessary for effective medication. These providers need a comprehensive mindset and information on Zika virus to articulately understand the patients ’treatment responses. Accordingly, this knowledge will help the physicians apply the relevant treatment procedures requisite in controlling the Zika virus among identified patients. The providers need to keep in mind that efficient preparedness will ultimately reduce the disease incidence and prevalence in the identified countries. The severity of the symptoms and the possibility of succumbing to the condition will also be reduced considerably. The level of preparedness and strategies employed are two aspects that will most likely determine the Zika virus patients’ health and treatment response significantly reducing the rate of morbidity. These factors discussed in this document will help all agencies involved in healthcare provision to exhaustively understand and provide medical services to the Zika patients in case of a possible outbreak in a specific country. Those pertinent agencies that will adhere to most of these strategies will fundamentally contribute to the reduction of Zika virus spread in the society. The emergency response to Zika Virus, therefore, presents a challenging and unique situation to the healthcare providers who are tasked with reducing the spread and casualties related to this disease condition.

 

References

Lucey, D. R., & Gostin, L. O. (2016). The emerging Zika pandemic: enhancing preparedness. JAMA, 315(9), 865-866.

Oduyebo, T. (2016). Update: interim guidelines for health care providers caring for pregnant women and women of reproductive age with possible Zika virus exposure—United States, 2016. MMWR. Morbidity and mortality weekly report, 65.

Petersen, E., Wilson, M. E., Touch, S., McCloskey, B., Mwaba, P., Bates, M., … & Azhar, E. I. (2016). Rapid Spread of Zika Virus in The Americas-Implications for Public Health

Thomas, D. L. (2016). Local Transmission of Zika Virus—Puerto Rico, November 23, 2015–January 28, 2016. MMWR. Morbidity and mortality weekly report, 65.