zika NurPhoto/Getty Images

As injustiças do Zika

SOUTHAMPTON – Os surtos de doenças transmissíveis no mundo em desenvolvimento já são suficientemente graves na perspectiva sanitária. Mas também têm consequências graves sobre a justiça social, porque agravam crises antigas de direitos humanos, nomeadamente por enfraquecerem a já deficiente provisão de serviços públicos e por aprofundarem as desigualdades existentes.

Tal como o surto de Ébola na África Ocidental em 2014, o surto de Zika na América Central e do Sul em 2015 atingiu, de forma mais dura, grupos sociais vulneráveis: mulheres e crianças, minorias étnicas, e os pobres. Tal como a febre-amarela, o dengue, e outras doenças, o Zika é transmitido pelos mosquitos Aedes aegypti. Mas, invulgarmente para um vírus transmitido por mosquitos, o Zika também pode ser transmissível por via sexual. Ainda mais invulgarmente, está associado a patologias neurológicas e do desenvolvimento que afectam os recém-nascidos: microcefalia e síndrome de Guillain-Barré. Fora isso, os seus sintomas são frequentemente ligeiros.

Isto significa que, dos mais de 1,5 milhões de pessoas afectadas pelo Zika desde o início do surto, as consequências foram mais preocupantes para as mulheres em idade fértil, particularmente para as que já estavam grávidas. Entre 2016 e 2017, foi confirmado um total de 11 059 casos de Zika em mulheres grávidas, que produziram 10 867 casos de microcefalia e de outras malformações congénitas dos sistemas nervosos centrais dos seus filhos. Cinquenta e seis por cento destes bebés nasceram de mulheres pobres e de mulheres de cor no nordeste do Brasil.

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