Zika Virus Symptoms, Causes, Prevention, Treatment

About Zika virus

Zika virus is a mosquito-borne illness that is spread by the Aedes species of mosquito. Zika Virus came comes from the Zika Forest of Uganda, where the virus was first isolated in 1947. Zika virus is related to the dengue, yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis, and West Nile viruses. These mosquitos can survive in both indoor and outdoor environments. The two known species responsible for Zika transmission are the Aedes albopictus, known as the Asian tiger mosquito, and the Aedes aegypti, known as the yellow fever mosquito.

Zika countries

The symptoms of Zika typically pass within the space of 1 week. However, there have been recent concerns about the virus due to a link between Zika and birth defects, such as microcephaly. In light of this, on 1 February 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the Zika virus outbreak constituted a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

On 31 March 2017 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued travel warnings for people traveling to certain countries and other areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing. Travelers, particularly those who are pregnant, who are heading to certain regions should be aware of these warnings. Affected regions include:

  • Central and South America
  • Caribbean
  • Oceania
  • North America
  • Africa
  • Asia

Zika virus Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of Zika virus are vague and can last for up to 1 week. Diagnosis of the virus is typically confirmed with a blood test. Symptoms of Zika virus include:

  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Joint Pain
  • Conjunctivitis (Red Eyes)
  • Muscle Pain
  • Headache
  • Pain Behind The Eyes
  • Vomiting

Zika virus Causes

Zika virus is transmitted primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito, which is found throughout the world. It was first identified in the Zika Valley in Africa in 1947, but outbreaks have since been reported in southeastern and southern Asia, the Pacific Islands and the Americas.

When a mosquito bites a person infected with a Zika virus, the virus enters the mosquito. When the infected mosquito then bites another person, the virus enters that person’s bloodstream.Spread of the virus through sexual contact and blood transfusion have been reported.

Treatments for Zika virus

Currently, there is no treatment or vaccination available for Zika. There are, however, several rapid detection tests available for qualified laboratories, distributed by the CDC. The CDC recommends the following measures for people with the virus:

  • Resting
  • Increasing fluid intake to prevent dehydration
  • Relieving pain and fever with medications, such as acetaminophen

The CDC advise against using aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) until a diagnosis of dengue has been ruled out due to the risk of hemorrhage.

Preventing Zika virus

Zika virus is transmitted by the Aedes species of mosquito. This species is also responsible for the transmission of dengue. Avoiding mosquito bites is vital to preventing transmission of Zika virus. The CDC recommend:

  • Using insect repellents
  • Wearing long-sleeved garments and long pants
  • Placing mosquito nets over beds (in some cases)
  • Using window and door screens
  • Running an air conditioner

It is also recommended that people empty any areas with collected standing water, as this is a common environment in which mosquitos can lay their eggs. It is recommended specifically that pregnant women traveling to countries that pose a risk for contracting Zika virus avoid mosquito bites.

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