It seems that every few years there is another global outbreak of a previously under-publicised, potentially life changing or lethal virus. We live in a world where travel is so much cheaper and easier than it was 30 or 40 years ago, and in which there is more potential for viruses to spread significantly more quickly.
This year Zika has been given an especially high profile because the Olympic Games are being held in its current epicentre. However, Zika is not new. According to the World Health Organisation, Zika was first identified in Uganda in 1947 with the first major outbreak being on the Island of Yap in the western Pacific Ocean in 2007, sixty years later. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have produced a map to show where the incidences of Zika are currently occurring, and in 2016 these are almost all in Latin America: http://www.cdc.gov/zika/geo/active-countries.html
Until recently Zika, which is spread by the same species of mosquito that transmits dengue fever and yellow fever, was mainly isolated to the African continent but its appearance and rapid spread in Brazil in 2015 ahead of a major international sporting event brought it more to the world’s attention. Recent incidences of Zika in Florida and the withdrawal of high profile sports men and women from the Rio Olympics has further enhanced concerns. While the show must go on, the spread of Zika has emphasized the importance of being able both to prevent the spread of harmful viruses, bacterial and other infections, and tackle them at source.
It can take years to find solutions to these major health scares but there is a lot we can all do to prevent them. The fact that their incidence declines over a period of time shows that we become better at identifying, preventing, treating, and deactivating even the worst viruses. For example, the silver ion technology used by our partners at BioCote has been proven effective under laboratory conditions at deactivating the H1N1 virus. Viruses outnumber all other life forms on the planet, and they are very different to bacteria and other micro-organisms. A virus can be between 10 and 100 times smaller than a bacterium, and some are known also to affect bacteria. Viruses can be water borne, carried by insects and other animal life, or spread by human contact, and a good first line of defence is often simple personal hygiene, which of course is less possible in areas that suffer from poor sanitation.
So our role at BioClad using the same silver ion technology is more to provide a second defence against the spread of harmful micro-organisms in our hospitals and healthcare centres, schools, sports facilities and commercial kitchens. We manufacture antimicrobial products that help prevent the spread of micro-organisms including bacteria, protozoans, fungi, and a range of other microbes. The silver ions in BioClad work 24/7 to interrupt their breeding cycle and prevent them from multiplying on its surface. Together we can create a more hygienic world.