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In case you have not been keeping up with international news lately, the country of Ecuador just experienced a serious earthquake. The 7.8 magnitude earthquake has resulted in over six hundred deaths, and has displaced well over thirty thousand people. Understandably, this tragic earthquake has been stressful on Ecuadorian citizens. This stress could be why so many Ecuadorians are suddenly showing symptoms of the Zika virus. Medical professionals do not know what to make of the association between the virus and the earthquake, as more studies are needed to shed light on the peculiar correlation. Before the Earthquakes occurred in Ecuador only one hundred and three citizens of the country had been diagnosed with the Zika virus. During the following ten weeks after the disaster, well over twelve hundred cases of the virus have been reported. So far, medical professionals believe that these cases are occurring as a result of the high stress levels experienced by people living in Ecuador following the earthquake. Also, eighty six percent of these cases have occurred in the Manabi epicenter. This area was heavily damaged by the destructive quake.

 

The recent Zika cases have hit people living in the Bahia de Caraquez in Ecuador’s Manabi province the hardest. This area saw the greatest quake devastation. The reported Zika cases are also reportedly occurring in women more so than in men. Most post-quake Zika cases have affected women between the ages of forty and sixty. The quake also resulted in a spike of other mosquito-borne diseases, such as dengue fever. According to American researchers, fifty eight percent of the recent quake victims that have been showing Zika symptoms have also been experiencing feelings of fear and anxiety. The high rate of mosquito-borne disease cases in Ecuadorian women may be coming as a result of Ecuador’s culture. In Ecuador, mothers are tasked with most familial responsibilities. Studies are ongoing, and it may be a while until the correlation between stress and disease is fully understood in this particular case.

Do you find it surprising that stress and mosquito-borne diseases are correlated?

 

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