Friday, May 13, 2016

What You Need To Know About the Zika Virus

The Zika virus is essentially transmitted to people when one is bit by an infected mosquito mostly found in tropical regions. The virus is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito. The virus belongs to the same family as Chikungunya, Dengue, Yellow fever and West Nile. However, unlike some of the aforementioned viruses, there is currently no vaccine that can be used to prevent or even treat the infection. Until recently, Zika was largely an obscure virus confined to Asia and Equatorial Africa.


The virus was first discovered in the year 1947 when a handful of scientists making a study of the Yellow fever in the Zika forest Uganda stumbled on a virus hitherto unknown. The scientists made the discovery of the unknown virus at the time in a feverish rhesus monkey. Fast forward to the year 1958 and it was discovered that the virus was mainly transmitted or spread through the bite of the aggressive Aedes mosquito though it can also be spread sexually.

The major cause of concern about the virus is its peculiar and alarming connection to microcephaly. Microcephaly is essentially a neurological disorder resulting to newborns spotting an abnormally smaller head. The resultant effect is of cause severe developmental issues and in extreme circumstances, death. From November 2015, Brazil alone has registered 4180 cases of microcephaly in babies born to women that acquired the virus during pregnancy. This is a far cry to the meager 146 cases that were registered in the year 2014.

How the Zika virus is spread


Transmission of the Zika virus is primarily through the Aedes mosquito. The virus is transmitted when the Aedes mosquito bites a person with an active infection and thereafter spreading it through biting other people. The symptoms of the virus are not severe but mild and include possible pink eye, fever, headache as well as a rash. In fact, up to 80% of individuals infected with the virus never have an idea that they are infected.

What you can do to protect yourself against Zika


Considering the fact that there exists no vaccine or treatment for the Zika virus, the only way to protect oneself from the virus is through taking preventative measures. For starters, you can desist from travelling to areas with an active infestation. Secondly, you should avoid mosquito bites by sleeping under a mosquito net. Thirdly, make it a habit to wear long sleeved shirts as well as long pants that are thick enough to prevent a mosquito bite. Fourthly, ensure that you sleep in lodgings with screened windows and air conditioned rooms. If you are already infected from the virus, the best way to keep people around you safe is through taking measures not to be bitten by a mosquito.

What is being done to stop Zika?


Efforts to create a Zika vaccine have taken center stage with researchers doing everything in their power to ensure that the Zika virus is a thing of the past. However, until there is a breakthrough, it is important for people to implement conventional mosquito control techniques such as emptying standing water which is a fertile mosquito breeding ground, sleeping under nets as well as spraying pesticides.

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