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The What And How Of The Zika Virus

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Zika virus is spread to human beings through mosquito bites.  A few common symptoms are fever, conjunctivitis, rash, and a headache.

 

Origin:

In 1947, a group of scientists researching yellow fever caged a rhesus monkey in the Zika (overgrown) forest in Entebbe, Uganda. This animal developed a fever, which was termed Zika fever in the year 1952. The illness originated in central Africa first and then in Southeast Asia. Since then, until 2007, cases of the Zika virus were very rare. But in 2007, in April, the first case of this disease occurred outside Africa, on the Yap Islands. This was first thought to be dengue or chikungunya fever but was later understood to be Zika fever from the serum samples of patients. In this year alone, there were 49 confirmed cases of this but no deaths or hospitalizations.

Since April 2015, it began in Brazil and spread to South and Central America.

Image by Chris Eden, Flickr

 

Transmission:

This virus is transmitted only by an infected ‘Aedes mosquito,’ the same ones which transmit chikungunya fever and dengue. The mosquito is infected by biting other people who have the virus and then infects another person by biting them after. Or, if the mother mosquito is infected, the virus is transferred to her child while she lays the eggs. But this is rare.

Zika Infected areas:

  • Zika virus outbreaks occurred in Africa and south-east Asia before 2015. It originated here.
  • After April 2015, it started in Brazil and spread to parts of Central America.
  • Presently, the virus is taking over countries all around the world.

Prevention:

Since there is no vaccine for this virus, it is not easy to prevent it. There is no fixed mode of prevention except wearing full sleeves to avoid mosquito bites.

Image source: Flickr, Maryland Govpics

 

Treatment:

There is no separate method of therapy against the Zika virus. Only the symptoms can be treated. Affected patients must get sufficient rest, and their diet must include lots of fluids to prevent dehydration. Medicines for a headache, rash, and fever should only be taken after consulting a doctor.

Once the virus infects a person, they are safe from future infection.

 

Zika around the world:

Mexico:

In November 2015, Mexico reported the first transmission of the virus. Ever since then, it has been spreading fast, in and around it.

Central America:

Since 2015, few Central American countries, including El Salvador, Guatemala, and Panama, have reported many cases of Zika.

South America:

It started spreading first in May 2015. Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Suriname, Venezuela, and Guyana have reported many cases of Zika.

The Caribbean:

U.S. Virgin Islands, Haiti, Guadeloupe, Barbados, Martinique, Dominican Republic, and few other places have reported cases of this virus.

Zika virus is now spreading through every continent and also through almost every country in the world. It has no method of prevention except prevention from mosquito bites. No cases of death due to the Zika virus have been reported as of date.

 

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