The Zika virus is an emerging infectious disease in America and spreading explosively according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Most incidences of the Zika virus in the US are believed to be brought back by people travelling to high-risk areas. Here are nine Zika virus facts you should know about:
1. Zika timeline
The Zika virus was first isolated back in 1947 in Zika forest, Uganda, hence the name. The virus had remained mainly in Africa with a few outbreaks reported in Asia. A major epidemic of the Zika virus occurred in Micronesia’s Yap Island affecting about 75% of the population. Other cases of Zika virus started being reported in South America and by the year 2015, it had spread to other countries in the Americas including USA.
2. Zika Virus Transmission
Zika virus is widely known to be transmitted through the bite of an Aedes aegypti mosquito. The latest research also shows that Zika Virus can be transmitted through sex with cases of sexual transmission of Zika being confirmed by the CDC in the USA.
3. Type of Virus
Zika virus is a type of Flavivirus. It is in the same family as dengue, chikunyanga and yellow fever, which are spread by mosquitoes.
4. Zika Treatment
There is no form of treatment available to the Zika virus today. There is also no vaccine available for the Zika virus.
5. Zika Complications
The Zika virus is mainly linked to microcephaly. This neurological disorder leads to the birth of babies with unusually small heads. This is because of Zika infection before or during pregnancy in women.
6. Zika and Travelling
Since there is no treatment of vaccine for the Zika virus, it is highly recommended that you should avoid travelling to areas that have been flagged as high risk.
7. Zika virus prevention
Using repellents approved by the US Environmental Protection Agency is one of the ways to prevent being bitten by the Aedes mosquito. Avoiding sex when in high-risk areas is also another prevention method against the Zika virus infection.
8. Zika Symptoms
Zika symptoms are very mild making it difficult to tell if someone is infected. You should seek medical treatment immediately if you have mosquito bites in a high risk area.
9. Zika Research
Researchers are currently working on a treatment or vaccine against the Zika virus. However, it may take a while before clinical trials can begin.