Mosquito Zika Virus
Zika has been around for quite some time. As a matter of fact, it has already been discovered in 1947 in Uganda, East Africa, not from humans but from certain type of monkey. It only causes mild symptoms in humans like fever, rash, and red eyes and usually lasts for less than a week. In most cases, people don’t get sick at all. They won’t even know they had one.
However, it was not until recently that Zika had become a worldwide scare because of what it could possibly do to the unborn child. Microcephaly is a condition in which the fetus’ head becomes abnormally small along with other serious birth defects. As of now, no hard evidence directly points to Zika as the major cause. But the high incidence of adults who exhibit the symptoms of the virus and the concurrent rise in children born with microcephaly is strong enough to suggest that Zika could be the culprit.
So how do people get infected with the virus and how do we know if a person has it? Here are some important things every mom should know about the dreaded disease.
1. It can be transmitted through mosquito bites. The same vector that carries the dengue virus (aedes aegypti) is the cause of Zika outbreak in many places around the world. The virus can be passed when a mosquito feeds from an infected host and goes on to feed from another host and so on.
2. Only 1 out of 5 infected people show signs of the virus. Zika can be very deceptive. It can cleverly hide and evade detection while silently preying on its next victim. For people who does exhibit the symptoms it can look pretty much like any other disease – fever, rash, weakness, etc. – which goes away eventually.
3. It can be passed on through unprotected sex. Tests reveal the presence of Zika virus in the semen of infected males. They also found out that it can actually survive longer in the semen than in the blood. In some high risk countries like those in Central America, women were discouraged from getting pregnant until they’re pretty sure their community is safe from the virus.
4. It damages the central nervous system. Zika is a stuff of nightmares for pregnant moms because of its ability to damage an otherwise healthy human brain of an unborn baby. The symptoms are more pronounced if the mother gets it during the first trimester. But here’s where it get’s scarier. Recent cases of Zika in adults have shown that it can also have a damaging effect on the brain in persons with autoimmune disorders.
5. It has no known cure or vaccine. As of date, no medication or vaccine can effectively fight against this dreaded disease. The best solution up until now is to eradicate its vector by depriving all means of reproduction and protecting oneself by wearing protective clothes and applying insect repellants.
Hopefully we can come up with a drug or vaccine that would completely wipe out this malady from the face of the earth. But even in our simple way, we can help take away its foothold by maintaining a clean environment and stopping the spread of the disease right in its tracks.