What Is The Zika Virus? All Your Questions Answered


As the days go on, it appears that the Zika virus is becoming a much more serious threat. Global health officials are quickly trying to gain a better understand of the virus, which began in Brazil last year and has since spread to many other countries throughout the Americas.

As the virus continues to spread, it has many people around the world wondering what this virus is and how it could potentially affect them. I recently read this article, which answers some of the most pressing questions surrounding the Zika virus. The answers below should help give you a better understanding of what is going on.

How Do People Become Infected?

The Zika virus is transmitted to people through the bite of infected female mosquitoes, primarily the Aedes aegypti mosquito. This is the same type of mosquito that spreads the dengue, chikungunya, and yellow fever. The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has stated that Aedes mosquitoes are found in all countries in the Americas except Canada and continental Chile. It is very likely that the virus will reach all countries and territories of the region where Aedes mosquitoes are found.

How Do You Treat Zika?

Unfortunately, there is no treatment or vaccine for the Zika infection. Companies and scientists are currently working to develop a safe and effective vaccine for Zika. However, the World Health Organization contends that it would take at least 18 months to start large-scale clinical trials of potential preventative shots.

How Dangerous Is The Virus?

According to PAHO, there is no evidence that Zika can cause death, but some cases have been reported with more serious complications in patients with pre-existing medical conditions. Furthermore, the virus has been associated with Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks part of the nervous system.

What Are The Symptoms?

Although people with Zika may develop a mild fever, skin rash, conjunctivitis, muscle pain, joint pain and/or fatigue that can last 2-7 days, as many as 80% of people infected with the virus never actually develop any symptoms.

How Can Zika Be Contained?

In an effort to control the spread of the Zika virus, a focus has been placed on eliminating mosquito breeding sites and taking precautions against mosquito bites. This includes using insect repellent and mosquito nets. The United States and international health officials have also advised pregnant women to avoid traveling to Latin American and Caribbean countries.

What Is The History Of The Zika Virus?

The Zika virus can be found in tropical locales with large mosquito populations. Outbreaks of the virus have been recorded in Africa, the Americas, Southern Asia, and the Western Pacific. Zika was first identified in Uganda back in 1947 in rhesus monkeys. In 1952, the virus was first identified in people in both Uganda and Tanzania.