Nursing Sample Paper on Zika Virus in the Americas


Public health organs play a very crucial role in assessing heath status of the community, assuring the community of a disease free environment, preventing the occurrence and spread of communicable diseases and restoring health in the population. Public health officers, nurses and the community all play a major role in the maintenance of a healthy population. Health education is one of the main objectives of public health nurses as they often provide the community with the benefit of reliable and important information on how they can prevent diseases to make their health better. It is the responsibility of these professionals to make sure that the entire population is made aware of  disease outbreaks by teaching them ways to prevent such occurrences and mechanisms they can put in place to avoid the spread of the communicable diseases. With good health practice, improved lifestyle, and a better environment, chances of having a disease outbreak reduce significantly. The article reviews the recent Zika Virus outbreak in America; the relationship of the epidemiological triad and the impact of the chain on the outbreak; the role of the nurses in addressing the outbreak; and possible prevention strategies that could have been used to prevent the outbreak of the Zika virus in America.

Zika virus is the most recent viral outbreak in America in early 2016. The most affected as areas were South America, Central America and the Caribbean. The virus in an arthropod-borne in the genus Arbovirus. It is mostly transmitted by some types of mosquitoes and ticks. For the transmission to occur, there must be a triangular chain of interconnected factors which influence the transmission. These three factors are commonly called the epidemiological triad. The triad consists of an external agent (pathogen), the host and the environment. At the centre of these three factors is the disease. This implies that the relationship of the epidemiological triad has a great effect on the transmission and the spread of the disease.

The relationships between the triad influence the transmission and spread of any communicable disease including Zika virus infection. The pathogen associated factors influencing the spread and transmission of the disease include virulence and toxicity of the pathogen; infectivity; susceptibility; and the ability of the virus to survive outside the human body. These pathogen associated factors may have played a role in the outbreak of the virus in America. The environmental factors include climatic conditions, population density, physical structure and social structures may have also played a role in the spread of the virus. The host associated factors that might have played a role in the outbreak include age, susceptibility, co-infection and immune response. Initially, Zika Virus was confined in West Africa. The virus was first discovered accidentally in Uganda in 1947. The virus then circulated predominantly in wild primates and arboreal mosquitoes but had not been recognised or identified as a threat until the American outbreak causing a threat the U.S. population, (Fauci, et al. 2016). Some of the factors associated with the epidemiological triad may have played a role in the spread.

Public health officer and primary community health care nurses help in addressing the epidemiological outbreak of diseases. In the outbreak of Zika Virus in America the nurses were among the key players trying to contain the further spread of the disease. These nurses help in addressing the problem by carrying out interventions aimed at ensuring safety and restoration of a healthy population. The role or interventions of the nurses target the various ways in which the spread can be contained. The nurses help to educate the public through awareness campaigns targeting the community. Education is power and thus informing the public on measures to be taken should there be a pandemic, endemic or sporadic spread of any communicable diseases.  Zika Virus disease is now a global disease following its spread to West Africa, presumably the region of origin, and other parts worldwide. This, therefore, requires a proper knowledge by the public on how to prevent themselves and reduce spread.

Public health nurses teach good health, nutrition, important safety practices, and strategies to detect a disease outbreak within the community (Kemppainen, Tossavainen, &Turunen, 2013). The nurses inform the community on ways to care for the ill family members to prevent diseases among other family members. Their main responsibility is to ensuring the community accesses important health information they can easily understand for effective disease prevention. The information on proper nutrition can help influence positively some host related factors that may help reduce susceptibility, boost immunity among others. This can work against communicable diseases including Zika Virus.

Public health nurses help in assessing the health state by taking part in epidemiological surveillance. Such surveillance can help assess and detect any possible outbreaks. Early epidemiologic surveillance and human challenge studies have shown that Zika Virus was characterised as a mild or more like dengue disease with fever, muscle aches, maculopapular rash, eye pain, and prostration (Fauci, et al. 2016). Signs when noticed, appropriate measures should be taken, and such viruses like Zika suspected and managed. The on-going epidemiological studies show the virus can show mild to asymptomatic symptoms thus not able to be noticed on the onset.

In the case of serious concern for public health, these nurses offer critical health care services such as immunising young children against common diseases and prenatal care. They also provide information on ways of staying healthy to improve living standards of all age groups (Maurer & Smith, 2013). Public health nurses are committed and dedicated healthcare providers who focus on improving community health and care. They work well with highly dedicated groups through which they can manage the scarce resources well to ensure the health of the entire population improves. Immunisation or vaccine against Zika is currently being studied with candidate vaccines proven to be working on animals. Soon or later a vaccine would be discovered and approved. The nurses will play a major role in facilitating the administration of the vaccine.

The outbreak of Zika Virus in America had raised an alarm clearly sending a message of dire threats and surprises should strategies not be in place to mitigate outbreaks of communicable diseases. The Zika virus could not have spread to become a global threat. Some possible strategies should be put in place to prevent such outbreaks. Public health officers, nurses, NGOs, and intergovernmental agencies should work in hand to come to the rescue of the public.The possible strategy is continuous surveillance on incidence rates as well as prevalence rates. This can help detect possible ill health states way be for they become sporadic, epidemic or even pandemic. If proper epidemiological surveillance could have been done the case of Zika Virus in America could not have been a case of alarm.

Another strategy ought to have been to eradicate the vectors’ breeding sites. This could have been in line with proper sanitation both at personal and community level. Another strategy employed could have been proper patient management. Suspected cases could have been identified, patients treated and isolated to prevent them from coming into contact with others unless they are out of danger.







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Zylak, A., &Golombek, S. G. (2017).Zika virus from a neonatologist’s perspective.Journal of Pediatric and Neonatal Individualized Medicine (JPNIM), 6(1), e060128.

Kemppainen, V., Tossavainen, K., &Turunen, H. (2013). Nurses’ roles in health promotion practice: an integrative review. Health Promotion International, 28(4), 490-501.

Maurer, F. A., & Smith, C. M. (2013).Community/public health nursing practice: Health for families and populations. St Louis, MO: Elsevier Health Sciences.