IASSIDD

International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

IASSIDD Zika Virus Position Statement

IASSIDD Policy Position Statement

Zika Virus

What is the issue?

Zika virus, first identified in 1947, has recently become a major worldwide health problem. It is spread mostly by mosquitoes when they bite humans, but also sexually and via blood transfusions. A developing foetus can become infected when a pregnant woman becomes infected, but also when exposed to Zika-infected semen.

Why is prevention important?

Typically, Zika infection results in flu-like symptoms in adults (fever, joint pain, red eyes, rash, headaches, muscle pains), lasting for several days. Death is rare. A blood or urine test can confirm Zika infection.

Far more serious, though, a foetus infected with the Zika virus may develop microcephaly and other severe brain defects. Other less severe effects of exposure to Zika may also occur, although these are not currently well documented. Such effects can have many profound consequences for the child, the child’s family, the family’s network, and for the broader community. Virtually all aspects of life can be seriously affected, and systems such as education, social services, and health can be strongly impacted.

Why is IASSIDD concerned?

IASSIDD, an international organization that focuses on the scientific study of intellectual and developmental disabilities, is very concerned about the recent rapid spread of Zika virus and its consequences for the healthy development of children worldwide. IASSIDD focuses not only on physical and mental health, but also on personal and social approaches to disability, including parenting, families, aging, and quality of life. As such, IASSIDD is highly concerned that there is currently no vaccine or medicine for Zika virus.

Position supports other organizations’ positions

IASSIDD supports the 2016 World Health Organization (WHO) statement on the Zika virus (http://www.who.int/emergencies/zika-virus/causality/en/), and endorses the position statement of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (http://aaidd.org/news-policy/policy/position-statements/addressing-the-causes-and-effects-of-intellectual-and-deve#.WAOzP86cG70).

What can be done?

1. IASSIDD supports the development of a Zika virus vaccine and other preventive strategies.

2. IASSIDD supports the use of pesticides to control the mosquito vector, principally Aedes aegypti. It is recognized, however, that some pesticides increase the likelihood of other intellectual or developmental difficulties, and must be avoided. It is also recognized that pesticides are banned in some countries. For these reasons, the use of pesticides is best used in conjunction with other Zika virus control strategies.

3. IASSIDD supports the delineation of specific practical strategies that can be put in place, especially in areas of high risk for Zika virus infection.

What else should we do?

IASSIDD recommends further investigation into the current strategies to manage the Zika virus.

IASSIDD wants a stronger focus on whether or not Zika virus may impact people with intellectual disability differently than others.

IASSIDD supports the global statement on sharing data and results relevant to the Zika virus epidemic (http://www.acmedsci.ac.uk/policy/policy-projects/global-statement-on-zika/?platform=hootsuite).

To gain more knowledge, IASSIDD calls for further research:

  • To examine the consequences of large-scale vaccination programmes of pregnant women including impact on neurological development on infected and non-infected children.
  • To carefully track the physical and cognitive effects of pesticides being used for the purpose of eradicating the mosquito vector on the development of children. Use of pesticides that are already known to raise the risk of intellectual and developmental disabilities must be avoided.
  • To explore alternatives to pesticides for vector control, Wolbachia infection of Aedes aegypti, for example.[1]
  • Within the limits of current ethics and human rights, establish surveillance programmes to monitor the physical, cognitive, and mental health development of children with known prenatal and postnatal exposure to Zika.

Sources

Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. (2017). Zika virus. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/zika/index.html

World Health Organization. (2017) Sika casualty statement. Retrieved from (http://www.who.int/emergencies/zika-virus/causality/en/)

Prepared by

IASSIDD Health SIRG, Dr Laurence Taggart, Chair

July 5th, 2017.



[1] Cell Host Microbe. 2016 Jun 8; 19(6): 771–774.

doi: 10.1016/j.chom.2016.04.021

PMCID: PMC4906366

Wolbachia Blocks Currently Circulating Zika Virus Isolates in Brazilian Aedes aegypti Mosquitoes

Heverton Leandro Carneiro Dutra,1 Marcele Neves Rocha,1 Fernando Braga Stehling Dias,1,2 Simone Brutman Mansur,1 Eric Pearce Caragata,1 and Luciano Andrade Moreira1,∗