The Zika virus is causing great alarm as health officials around the world are working hard to understand better about the disease and how it spreads. Here is important information everyone should know.
How is the Zika Virus Spread?
The Zika virus is mainly carried by the female Aedes aegypti mosquito. This same mosquito can also carry dengue, yellow fever, and chikungunya. The Aedes aegypti mosquito is found in all countries (in the Americas) with the exception of Canada and Chile (continental) according to the Pan American Health Organization, also known as PAHO. Eventually, the virus is expected to reach all countries where the mosquito resides.
The disease can be spread to humans when bitten by the infected female mosquito. Infected humans can then transmit the disease to other humans through sexual contact (by infected males and females via semen, vaginal secretions).
Ongoing research shows transmission can also occur through contact with infected blood. The virus has been seen in infected pregnant women within the amniotic fluid, and the placenta. The virus has also been found in brain tissue of the infected unborn child.
Can the Zika Virus Be Treated?
At this time, the Zika virus cannot be treated. No vaccine has been created for the virus at this time, although many companies are working feverously to create one which is safe and effective. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), it will take at least a few years before coming close to providing the vaccination publically.
How Dangerous is the Zika Virus?
There is the high consensus from WHO that Zika can cause microcephaly to develop in unborn babies (being carried by infected women). Microcephaly is a disorder in which the head of the baby is underdeveloped typically resulting in developmental problems among other medical challenges. Zika is also associated with various neurological disorders, spinal cord infections, and serious brain infections.
What are the Symptoms of Having a Zika Infection?
Individuals infected with the Zika virus may run a mild fever, have a skin rash, endure muscle and joint pain, and suffer from increasing fatigue. Symptoms are normally lasting from two to seven (2-7) days. It is important to understand, eighty percent (80%) of people who are infected with Zika never display any symptoms.
More Research Needed
Well-known research organizations are working hard to collect more valuable information to bring greater understanding in how the virus spreads, how it reacts with other viruses, as well as other relevant particulars to ensure continuing public health. Various companies are also working to create a safe and effective vaccination against the disease.