“What you don’t know cannot hurt you.”
That’s utter rubbish. Not everyone is a doctor, and even if everyone were to be a doctor, it would still be impossible for every doctor to know about every disease.
So cause you don’t know about, say, the “Von-Hippel Lindau disease” or “Guillain-Barre Syndrome” doesn’t mean it cannot affect you.
You may not have heard about the parasitic roundworm, Wuchereria bancrofti ( it causes this disease called Elephantiasis! where your legs become all swollen and scaly and resemble that of an elephant). Or about the protozoan, Plasmodium falciparum ( which, by the way, causes cerebral malaria).
You might not know a lot about pathogens and the disease they cause, but you might have heard about the ZIKA VIRUS, a virus that is all over the news and is highly debated!
1.The name “Zika” has a Ugandan origin. In the Uganda language, it means “overgrown.” As it was first discovered in the Zika Forest, Uganda, in 1947, hence the name. (Here we were celebrating our triumph over the British on attaining independence in India, and there Zika was emerging victorious to be responsible for a possible pandemic almost 70 years later!)
2.The first human case of the Zika virus dates back to 1954 in Nigeria.
3. Until 2007, there had been only 14-15 documented cases. But there has been a sudden uprise, and the virus has spread through the Americas, especially Brazil.
4. Zika virus is spread by mosquito bites. The mosquito, Aedes, also causes Yellow Fever, Dengue fever, and Chikungunya.
5. About 1 in 5 people infected with the Zika virus actually manifest the symptoms of the disease. The rest 4 have a good immune system that combats the infection.
6 . The symptoms to look out for are:
- Conjunctivitis (Red eyes)
- Joint pain
- Muscle pain
7. It is a benign virus, and the disease is usually mild. It lasts up to a week. And fatality related to Zika virus cases is extremely low.
8. Then why all the panic? ( That’s cause, like they say, “A little knowledge is a harmful thing“)
If you are pregnant and get infected by the virus, the virus crosses the placenta and affects your baby.
In infants, it causes “Microcephaly,” which means tiny head. And small head size leads to brain damage! This means a larger number of imbeciles, and the average IQ of the globe goes further down! Tch-Tch!
In 2015, Brazil reported an upsurge in the cases of babies born with microcephaly. More than 3500 cases were reported in a single year. When usually, they remained within the range of a few hundred.
9. Another group of scientists believe that the Zika virus is responsible for a rare neuromuscular disorder called Guillain-Barre Syndrome (Yeah, yeah. You’ve heard about it!), which causes muscle weakness and paralysis leading to death.
10. As of now, there is no treatment for this disease because it’s a viral disease. And viruses are very cunning and hard to kill.
11. On January 15th, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a first-of-its-kind travel alert stating that all pregnant women or those of childbearing age are not to visit the Zika affected countries.
12. Prevention is ALWAYS better than cure, especially since there is no cure! Stay away from obnoxious mosquitoes, use insecticidal mosquito nets, and use repellant sprays, creams, and coils. Be safe!