zika NurPhoto/Getty Images

Las injusticias del Zika

SOUTHAMPTON – Las epidemias de enfermedades transmisibles en el mundo desarrollado ya son lo suficientemente lamentables desde una perspectiva sanitaria. Pero también tienen serias implicancias en términos de la justicia social, porque exacerban prolongadas crisis de derechos humanos, afectando una prestación de servicios públicos de por sí débil y profundizando las desigualdades existentes.

Al igual que el brote de Ébola de 2014 en África occidental, el brote de Zika en América Central y del Sur en 2015 afectó con mayor fuerza a los grupos sociales vulnerables (mujeres y niños, minorías étnicas y los pobres). Como la fiebre amarilla, el dengue y otras enfermedades, el Zika se transmite por los mosquitos Aedes aegypti. Pero, en lo que es inusual para un virus transmitido por mosquitos, el Zika también se puede propagar por vía sexual. Más raro aún, se asocia con problemas neurológicos y del desarrollo que afectan a bebés: la microcefalia y el síndrome de Guillain-Barré. Por lo demás, sus síntomas son más bien leves.

Esto significa que, de los más de 1,5 millones de personas afectadas por el Zika desde el principio de la epidemia, las consecuencias fueron más preocupantes para mujeres en edad fértil, especialmente las que estaban embarazadas. Entre 2016 y 2017, se confirmó un total de 11.059 casos de Zika en embarazadas, produciéndose 10.867 casos de microcefalia y otras malformaciones congénitas en los sistemas nerviosos centrales de sus bebés. Un cincuenta y seis por ciento de ellos nacieron de mujeres pobres y mujeres de color en el nordeste brasileño.

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