What is the Zika Virus?

Zika VirusThe Zika virus a virus transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes. In people, it causes a mild illness called Zika disease or Zika fever. This disease is known to occur within the equatorial belt area of Africa and Asia, since the 1950s. In the late 2000s, it appeared further east in South America and Central America. The disease is mild, non-fatal and is considered a form of dengue, which is related to yellow fever.

The Zika virus is mainly transmitted by active daytime mosquitoes and has been being linked to some species of the genus, such as Aedes aegypti, and arboreal mosquitoes – Aedes Africanus. These are the same mosquitoes that carry dengue fever and yellow fever. Based on research the mosquitoes incubation period last about ten days When a mosque bites, it passes the virus on to people. The virus was also present in the vertebrate host, including monkeys in human. Before the 2007 pandemic, the Zika virus rarely caused infections in humans.

In 2015 the Zika Virus was detected in the amniotic fluid of two baby fetuses, indicating a fetal infection is possible.

In 2009, it was suggested that the Zika virus can be sexually transmitted the between two humans

Symptoms of Zika Virus

The disease can cause rashes, fever, joint pain, pink eye (conjunctivitis. Most people who have the virus do not know that they have it. According to the Infectious Diseases Society of America, only one in five people will exhibit symptoms associated wth Zika virus. Also, this illness never caused significant complications because it has never been considering a severe infectious disease until recently. In rare cases, Zika has been associated with Guillain-Barre syndrome, which is an autoimmune disorder that can cause complete or partial paralysis, for a temporary period.

The Zika virus similar to another mosquito- borne virus- dengue fever, chikungunya, all cause flu-like symptoms that range in seriousness. In some cases lasting a few days and other lasting more than a week. In many of this types of virus, few people will show symptoms

What is Zika virus Treatment options?

Today there is no treatment for Zika virus. Most people who have the symptoms will start to get better with over the counter medications for the aches and pain. The virus typically leaves the body within a week or so.

Zika Microcephaly and Pregnancy.

In recent research by the Arboviral Diseases Branch of the CDC, there is a reason to believe that reported cases of microcephaly in Brazil are caused by Zika infections. Microcephaly is a disorder that stunts the growth of the baby’s head causing it to be much smaller than normal. In these cases, the brain will often not grow properly during development. Microcephaly is sometimes fatal, which may lead to the fetuses and to be stillborn or miscarried. Babies that do survive often die early or suffer from severe lifelong cognitive problems. Growing needed shows that it is possible for Zika viruses in mothers triggering microcephaly. These could also be cases in which the virus has changed and developed in a deferent parter and leads to the infection of the fetus.

Risk of an outbreak?

The CDC expects more cases of the Zika virus to arrive in the U.S It can be carried by travelers from the Carribean and Latin America. It is unlikely that the U.S will experience massive outbreaks, because Americans are not exposed to mosquitoes as the same rate a people within Latin America and Caribbean countries are. Although it is impossible to predict how much ika Virus will be introduced into the U.S, it is expected to be relatively small and local outbreaks.

Can Zika virus be prevented?

If your are traveling to affected areas of Zika virus, avoid mosquito bites by using mosquito repellent liberally throughout the day. You should know whare long-sleeved shirts and long pants, both inside and out. The mosquitoes that spread Zika are very aggressive during the daytime, and can be often found inside, if in the U.S, Mosquitoes in the U.S feed at night.
For women that are pregnant in the first or second trimesters. It is risky going to areas that have the Zika virus circulating. Although the link between microcephaly is not guaranteed, it is highly likely that Zika is involved and it is not recommended for pregnant women to travel to areas where there are ongoing epidemics. Even those who do not know they have Zika can spread the devices, so it is important to be extremely vigilant when travelling and going back home.


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