Zika Virus Facts

Zika Virus Facts
The Zika virus is a virus known to cause, in the worst case scenarios, microcephaly in babies and Guillain-Barre syndrome in adults. The virus is spread via daytime mosquitos, resulting either in no symptoms, or those similar to a milder form of dengue fever. The most risk is to pregnant women and their unborn babies. Zika virus is a member of the Flaviviridae family and of the Flavivirus genus. It is related to West Nile, Japanese encephalitis, dengue fever, and yellow fever. Zika virus was first isolated in the narrow region of the Zika Forest in Uganda in 1947. It was later found along the equator from Asia to Africa in the 1950s. It continued to spread until the 2015-2016 epidemic was determined to be occurring in the Americas.
Interesting Zika Virus Facts:
The Zika virus is transmitted to humans mainly via the female Aedes mosquitos. These tend to be active during the day.
An individual that contracts the Zika virus may have symptoms such as fever, a mild rash, muscle and joint pain, headaches, malaise, and possibly conjunctivitis.
Symptoms of Zika virus infection usually resolve in 2 to 7 days.
It is believed that the Zika virus may be a cause of microcephaly in babies, as well as other congenital brain abnormalities. Microcephaly is a brain abnormality in which the brain does not develop as it should and the baby's head is smaller than it should be. While normally present at birth it may also develop in the infant's first few years.
Microcephaly can result in a smaller head, poor motor function, poor speech, dwarfism, seizures, and intellectual disabilities. There is no treatment to cure microcephaly.
In adults it is believed that the Zika virus can result in Guillain-Barre syndrome, which can result in muscle weakness, and damage to the peripheral nervous system. This condition is life-threatening in approximately 15% of cases as breathing muscles weaken and the patient required mechanical ventilation.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States issued a travel advisory in 2016 for pregnant women to consider postponing travel to countries affected by the Zika virus. The countries included many in Latin America and the Caribbean such as Barbados, Bolivia, Columbia, Venezuela, Suriname, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Guyana, Ecuador, and many others.
As the Zika virus spreads worldwide it is becoming more commonly found in a variety of mosquito types including the tiger mosquito, arboreal mosquitos, A. albopictus, A. aegypti, and many more.
Evidence has shown that mosquitos carrying the Zika virus have managed to survive four consecutive winters in a Washington, D.C. neighborhood in Capitol Hill.
It is believed that the Zika virus may also be spread from an infected male after two weeks of infection to a female, which means it could result in infection to a baby when the mother has never been bitten by an infected mosquito.
It takes between 5 and 10 days for a mosquito's saliva to carry the Zika virus and to be able to transmit the virus to humans.

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