If you have just learnt about the Zika Virus, you are probably wondering what it is. Although it was discovered in the 1940s, the virus hit headlines in 2015.
This virus usually causes a mild flu-like illness. However, in pregnant women, it has been linked to a serious birth defect know as microcephaly. This is a condition characterized by small heads and brain size. This virus has caused panic all over the world. Here are some important facts about the virus;
They live in mosquitoes and human beings, but they are transmitted by mosquitoes
The Zika virus lives in mosquitoes and human beings. It’s transmitted to human being through a bite by the Aedes mosquito. When you are infected by this virus, you will not be able to transmit it to another person. The only way it will be transmitted is when you are bitten by an Aedes mosquito which then goes ahead and bites other people.
Symptoms of infection are mild
More than 80% of people who are infected by the virus do not show any symptoms. Therefore, the fact that you are not showing any symptoms does not mean that you are not infected. The illness is seen when it strikes women who are pregnant. Some of the symptoms of this virus include fever, rush, muscle and joint pain, headache, pain in the eyes etc. These symptoms are usually mild. They can easily be treated by over the counter pain killers.
Unborn babies are at the greatest risk from Zika complications
When pregnant women are infected by this virus, it’s their unborn babies who are at the greatest risk. It produces horrific effects of microcephaly. This birth defects cause mental retardation, delayed movement, delayed speech and delayed growth.
There is no vaccine to protect humans from the virus
Scientist are still working around the clock to find a vaccine for this virus. At the moment, no vaccine has been developed. Governments in the affected areas are advising women not to get pregnant to avoid the effect of the virus to their unborn babies. Scientists project that a vaccine might be developed by 2017.
The virus was first discovered in Africa
The Zika virus was first discovered in Zika forest in Uganda in 1947. Since then, there have been a few outbreaks in other places in Africa and in Asia. The first case of the virus in Latin America was reported in 2014. It has spread very quickly since then.