Have you heard about Zika? Well, it is a relatively new virus that is roaming and tormenting the earth. The virus, though first found in a monkey in Uganda as far back as 1947, is regarded as new for its recent spread and saddening effects.
Of course, it’s neither HIV, Hepatitis, nor even Ebola, but shockingly a mosquito-borne virus.
After its first discovery, its tentacles stretched from Africa into Asia, then to several islands on the Pacific ocean. In 2015, the virus spread to the Americas with Brazil recording the first case. Since then, the virus took a long hike into the rest of America, and the number of cases have been growing exponentially.
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A CNN report says the virus has spread to about 23 countries and territories in the Americas. It is expected to grow widely by next year.
The virus was formally regarded as a non-life threatening disease. Until recently, it was linked to a neurological disorder in newborns and fetuses. Thousands of babies have been affected with this ailment in Brazil.
The virus makes the baby’s head appear tinier than normal with an undeveloped brain. This leads to developmental problems and sometimes death.
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The alarming connection of this virus to a neurological birth disorder and the rapid spread of the virus across the world, have raised worldwide concern.
Since there is no good antiviral drugs or vaccine for the virus yet, prevention becomes even more important. This can be done by not keeping any standing water or dirt in you garbage for too long, as these can become breeding grounds for the mosquito. Also prevent infected areas.
What Are The Symptoms Of Zika?
Like every mosquito-borne disease, persons infected with Zika shows the following symptoms: a rash, fever, joint pains, conjunctivitis (red eyes) and headache.
This is not however ironclad as a higher percentage of people infected with the virus show no symptoms. On that account, pregnant women without symptoms need to be given an ultrasound to check their developing fetus for microcephaly or intracranial calcifications.
How Is Zika Passed On?
Scientific evidence indicates the virus can be spread by the same type of mosquito that transmit other tropical diseases, like dengue fever, chikungunya and yellow fever. And this is not strange, as people have similar symptoms as those ailments.
The virus can probably be transmitted through sex, following two reports in medical literature.
One being a 44-year-old Tahitian man whose semen and urine samples tested positive for Zika even when his blood tested negative.
Another is that of a Colorado microbiologist named Brian Foy who contracted Zika after a travel to Senegal. His wife came down with the disease a few days later even though she had not left northern Colorado and was not exposed to any mosquitoes carrying the virus.
But, World Health Organisation (WHO) insists there isn’t a conclusive evidence to seal up the founding.
It can also be transferred during labor, blood transfusion, laboratory exposure and sexual contact, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.