Early in 1947, Zika virus was identified in Uganda, but it is not until 2015 that people become aware of such disease as the increasing number of microcephaly infants in Brazil. People suffer the consequence mainly because they have inadequate knowledge about Zika virus and do not pay enough attention to it. On one hand, we do need cutting-edge science and technology to deal with unpredictable disease and severe virus. But on the other hand, we also need access to such information. In the information era, both traditional and new media should take the responsibility.
If people are not aware of such diseases, how could they be prepared to prevent it? Take me as an example; I never get more information when I participate in OpenIDEO. I was born in the North of China. The province I used to live in is not the habitation of Aedes aegypti. Before the outbreak of Zika disease, I hardly get any information about Zika virus. I ask my family and friends to find out whether they are aware of such disease and understand the damage of Zika. It turns out 10% of them know Zika but few of them has study how severe damage it can bring. I wonder that the lack of knowledge of Zika may be a cause of an increase in the number of infected victims. At the end of 2015, there were 4 million people infected by Zika, according to WHO. The obscure disease has grown into a threat to all human beings.
Undoubtedly, we rely on vaccines that help people to fight against virus. Yet it may take years for research institutions and companies to make it happen. Before that, the promising way for us to deal with it is to understand the virus, avoid being infected, and reduce the number of infants with microcephaly. No country (especially the developing country) is safe with Zika, as the globalization and interconnectivity has changed the world’s landscape.
Living in a world surrounded by explosive information, it is ironic that we even get less useful knowledge (as people tend to spend more time on entertainment programs). Mass media and social media infiltrates into people’s life at every facet. To some extent, media practitioners control the way that we familiarize with the world. If people keep pace with information on lasted diseases (viruses), the result may be different.