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Recently, Nigeria’s health minister, Prof. Isaac Adewole sought to rest Nigerians’ minds at ease when he said the incurable Zika virus which is spreading fast through the Americas poses little threat to Nigerians due to a study in the 1970’s which shows that several Nigerians were immune to the virus at the time.

The Zika virus was recently declared an international public health emergency by the World Health Organization (WHO).

According to the minister, the virus has been in Nigeria since 1954 and could not harm the citizens, as Nigerians have developed strong resistance to the virus. Once a person is infected with Zika virus, they are free from future infections.

According to a 1979 essay on Zika virus by AH. Fagbami, a study of Zika virus infections was carried out in four communities in Oyo State, Nigeria and virus isolation studies between 1971 and 1975 yielded two virus isolations from human cases of mild febrile illness. The essay went further to reveal that Haemagglutination-inhibition tests showed a high prevalence of antibodies to Zika and three other flaviviruses used. The percentages of positive sera were as follows – Zika (31 percent), Yellow fever (50 percent), West Nile (46 percent), and Wesselsbron (59 percent).

However, Zika virus (ATCC® VR-84™) which according to, can be purchased from ATCC labs in America, has reached a good number of tropical and sub-tropical countries in the Western hemisphere and will likely continue to do so.

Credit - Vox
Credit – Vox

While Nigeria’s health minister may be right that based on a study carried out in Oyo state, over 30 years ago, several Nigerians showed resistance to Zika virus, the truth remains that for there to be any kind of success in defeating and overcoming the Zika virus, everyone, including Nigerians must stand as a community to kill off the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes (who are now resistant to insecticides and are no longer restricted to biting humans during the day but now bite at night). Adequate steps must be taken to ensure that we all overcome the havoc of the virus.

Although the re-emergence of the Zika virus which was first found in a rhesus monkey in 1952 is currently being battled in selected countries, it is turning out to be a global problem. Vox recently released a map showing data that global warming could be blamed for the strong resistance of the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes which transmit the Zika virus.

Credit - Vox
Credit – Vox

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