Recently, there’s been a disease breakout and this time, it’s not Ebola, it’s the Zika virus. The WHO has declared zika as a worldwide medical emergency.
The outbreak started to alarm people about a year ago in Brazil, now spread in about 20 countries. It was given a lot of attention when medical officials suspected a link between the virus and a birth defect, known as microcephaly. Microcephaly is a condition where a baby is born with an abnormally small head. It affects brain development and depending on how severe it is, the baby might not survive for a long time. The ones that do survive, will have many intellectual disabilities throughout their life.
Some countries, including Brazil, have advised and cautioned for women to not get pregnant because in fear that the woman carrying a child has been infected by the virus and then pass it on to her newborn. It’s still not certain if there is any link, but they still informed women that is is best to hold off from getting pregnant until more is known about the virus.
The Zika virus was first identified in monkeys in Uganda back in 1947. There have been a few cases here and there, but not until last year, did Brazil begin to report multiple cases. It has been spreading rapidly into many countries, and even a few cases in the U.S.
Currently, the zika virus is being transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes which are found on the Americas. If a person already has the virus and a mosquito takes the blood of the infected person, it can then go bite another person, thus spreading the virus from person to person. That’s why a way to prevent from getting bitten is, of course, taking the precautions that you normally would to prevent getting mosquito bites. That would be wear clothing covers most of your body and using bug spray. You should also completely close your windows so they don’t have an access to enter your home. Mosquitos like to lay their eggs in water, so it would be best to cut them off to any water.
This virus is, although, a bit scary because the symptoms are barely visible. Some of the symptoms include: fever, a rash, joint pain, and red eyes. Sometimes there aren’t even any symptoms indicating that you are infected. As of right now, there is no vaccine or cure for this disease, but there is a lot of money and funding being put for the development of some treatment. Some scientists believe that they are close to coming close and will begin vaccine trials in September or as late as early 2017. In the best case scenario, there could possibly be a vaccine in 2018.