Zika Virus Disease: Facts, Epidemy, Cures

Watch This Video To See What Is Zika Virus And Should We Be Worried Then Read Facts and Figures Below


The Facts

Zika virusZika virus was first discovered in 1947 and is named after the Zika Forest in Uganda. In 1952, the first human cases of Zika were detected and since then, outbreaks of Zika have been reported in tropical Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands.

In January 2016, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a first-of-its-kind travel alert: American women of childbearing age, whether pregnant or not, were told to avoid countries where the Zika virus has been circulating. At the same time, women in countries that already have Zika outbreaks have been told to avoid getting pregnant.That’s because Zika, a tropical disease carried from person to person by mosquitoes, has been linked to birth defects and deaths in newborns. Brazil has been battling the largest Zika outbreak yet, with more than a million people infected. But the virus has been identified in 20 other countries and territories in South and Central America and the Caribbean, including Colombia, El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Venezuela, and Puerto Rico.

Zika virus is transmitted to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. Two species are known to carry the virus, the Yellow Fever mosquito and the Asian Tiger mosquito. Both species are found throughout most of the Americas. The Yellow Fever mosquito can be found along the Gulf Coast of the United States while the Asian Tiger mosquito can be found as far north as New York City.

Zika virus is related to dengue, yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis, and West Nile viruses. Zika virus is a mosquito-borne flavivirus transmitted primarily by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. These mosquitoes typically lay eggs in and near standing water in things like buckets, bowls, animal dishes, flower pots and vases.  They are aggressive daytime biters, prefer to bite people, and live indoors and outdoors near people.

The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting from several days to a week. Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon. Zika can be passed through sex from a person who has Zika to his or her partners. Zika can be passed through sex, even if the infected person does not have symptoms at the time. Zika can also be transmitted through blood, and mother-to-fetus transmission has been documented throughout pregnancy. A mother already infected with Zika virus near the time of delivery can pass on the virus to her newborn around the time of birth, but this is rare. Following the spread of Zika virus in Brazil, there has been a marked reported increase in the number of infants born with microcephaly; it is not known how many of these cases are associated with Zika virus infection. A women contemplating pregnancy, who has recently recovered from Zika virus infection, should consult her healthcare provider after recovering.

The Epidemy

As of December 2016, the CDC reported a total of 4,617 cases of the Zika virus in the U.S. That number includes lab-acquired cases, travel-associated cases and locally acquired cases:

  • Locally acquired mosquito-borne cases reported: 185
  • Travel-associated cases reported: 4,431
  • Laboratory acquired cases reported:  1
  • Total: 4,617
    • Sexually transmitted: 38
    • Guillain-Barré syndrome: 13

Florida saw its first such case via mosquito bite in July 2016. In November 2016, Texas became the second U.S. state to report local transmission of Zika via mosquito bite.

CDC recommends special precautions for pregnant women and women trying to become pregnant. Pregnant women in any trimester should consider postponing travel to the areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing. Women trying to become pregnant or who are thinking about becoming pregnant should consult with their healthcare provider before traveling to these areas and strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during the trip. Because specific areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing are difficult to determine and likely to change over time, CDC will update this travel notice as information becomes available. Check CDC’s Zika Travel Information website frequently for the most up-to-date recommendations.

 Zika map

Zika situation report (source: World Health Organization)

1 December 2016

zika mapThe Cures

Zika virus

There is no treatment for the Zika virus, and it doesn’t always show symptoms. Nikos Vasilakis of the Center for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases predicted that 10 to 12 years may be needed before an effective Zika virus vaccine is available for public use. More recently the head of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) said that they are pursuing at least two approaches to a Zika vaccine. A DNA based vaccine using a strategy very similar to what we employed for the West Nile virus  and a live vaccine building on similar approaches used for the dengue virus. So it all comes down to limiting exposure to the insect.

Here are 5 things you can do when traveling to countries where Zika virus or other viruses spread by mosquitoes are found or if your own area is now under the threat:

  1. Clear and drain standing water. Mosquitoes breed in standing water.
  2. Wear protective clothing.
  3. Use bug spray.
  4. Stay in air conditioning or in places that use window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.
  5. Sleep under a mosquito bed net if you are overseas or outside and are not able to protect yourself from mosquito bites.
  6. Keep doors and windows without screens closed.

Treat the symptoms:

  1. Get plenty of rest
  2. Drink fluids to prevent dehydration
  3. Take medicine such as acetaminophen to relieve fever and pain
  4. Do not take aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like ibuprofen and naproxen, to reduce the risk of hemorrhage (bleeding).

If you are taking medicine for another medical condition, talk to your healthcare provider before taking additional medication.  If you have Zika, protect others from getting sick. During the first week of infection, Zika virus can be found in the blood and passed from an infected person to another mosquito through mosquito bites. An infected mosquito can then spread the virus to other people.To help prevent others from getting sick, avoid mosquito bites during the first week of illness.

Source: this article was updated in December 2016 so please check the CDC internet site for more recent informations.


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