Zika Virus: Essential Facts You Need To Know

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A recent report issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) advising people living in the regions where the zika virus has spread considerably, to consider delaying their pregnancy, has raised alarms across the globe.

A severe birth defect seems to have been reported from these regions.

Also Read: Foods For Viral Fever Patients

Zika virus is transmitted primarily through the bite of an infected female (Aedes aegypti) mosquito, the same one that is responsible for spreading dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever.

However, it is also becoming increasingly evident that it can also be transmitted through sex. Hence, the WHO has recommended that both men and women who have travelled to the areas where transmission of Zika virus occurs should try to abstain for at least 8 weeks following their return.

The zika virus was first identified in the year 1947 in monkeys at Uganda and later in 1952 among humans.

essential facts about zika virus

Later a larger outbreak of zika virus was reported from the Island of Yap (Federated States of Micronesia) in 2007.

The complication that was noted in 2015 was a rare condition, in which the immune system weakened because of nervous attack, which further led to muscle weakness and paralysis in the individuals suffering from it. Also, a birth defect where a baby's head is smaller than expected when compared to the babies of the same sex and age was also noted as one of the complications of the zika virus infection.

Since 2015, at least 46 countries have experienced the first outbreak of zika virus, whereas14 other countries have witnessed an ongoing transmission since2007.

At Boldsky, we bring to you 5 essential facts that you need to know about the zika virus. Have a look:

essential facts about zika virus

How The Zika Virus Spreads:
Zika virus is a mosquito-borne disease that is transmitted primarily by an infected female (Aedes aegypti) mosquito. According to the WHO, it is also becoming increasingly evident that it can also be transmitted through sex as well.

essential facts about zika virus

Complications Associated With The Zika Virus:
Major health complications were found in relation with the zika virus.

A reported link between the zika virus and Guillain-Barré syndrome (a rare condition in which your immune system attacks your nerves, leading to muscle weakness and even paralysis) and microcephaly (a birth defect where a baby's head is smaller than expected when compared to babies of the same sex and age) was reported from Brazil in 2015.

essential facts about zika virus

Symptoms Of The Zika Virus:
Fever, skin rashes, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise and headache lasting for about a week are few of the common symptoms. In majority of the cases, there are no significant symptoms. A laboratory blood test, urine test, saliva and semen tests are conducted for the diagnosis.

Also Read: Seven Facts About Zika Virus

essential facts about zika virus

Vaccine For Zika Virus:
Currently there is no treatment or vaccine available for the zika virus. Few companies are on the way of developing the vaccine. However, the WHO has stated that it would take about 18 months for its clinical trials.

essential facts about zika virus

Preventive Measures For Zika Virus:
Taking precautionary steps to prevent mosquito bites like wearing long-sleeved shirts and taking steps to prevent mosquito breeding are the foremost preventive measures. Since it is becoming increasingly evident that zika virus can also be transmitted through sex, it is recommended that both men and women who have travelled to the areas where transmission of Zika virus occurs should try to abstain for at least 8 weeks following their return.

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Read more about: zika virus, facts, symptoms, diagnosis, vaccine
Story first published: Saturday, June 11, 2016, 10:51 [IST]
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