What makes Zika a Deadly Virus?

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Zika is a virus that is spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito. Initially, the virus was identified in Uganda and it has since spread to South and Central America as well as the Caribbean very quickly. The only area where Zika is unlikely to be found is in cold climates like Canada and Chile. The rest of the world is still at risk of Zika virus.

No vaccination of Zika Virus

The reason why Zika virus can spread so quickly is because there is no immunization against it and a treatment method is yet to be discovered. The mosquitoes that transmit this virus are favored by climatic conditions in the most-affected regions.

Different modes of transmission

Previously, it was believed that Zika virus can only be transmitted by contact with the infected mosquitoes. However, research has shown that the virus can also be transmitted through sexual intercourse. People who travelled out of affected regions transmitted the virus to their sexual partners. The virus can also be transmitted from mother to child during pregnancy or birth. Even though the virus has been shown to be present in saliva, it cannot be transmitted in that way.

Zika and microcephaly

Zika virus is considered a huge risk due to the link it has to microcephaly, a condition that affects infants. Research shows that children born with the virus have a high risk of developing brain development problems. Pregnant mothers are often advised to stay away from Zika affected regions because of the impact it has on infants.

Zika can be spread through blood transfusion

Individuals who have been infected with Zika virus are advised to refrain from donating blood. Zika can be spread through blood and that’s why care should be taken to screen blood that has been donated. Individuals who have already donated blood are advised to notify the respective authority in the event that they are diagnosed with Zika virus after the blood donation.

You can have Zika without any symptoms

Many people develop Zika virus but do not show any symptoms. There are only a few reported deaths due to the virus. Many who develop the virus are almost always able to recover within a week. Zika virus can be tested in the laboratory. Institutions like the Center for Disease Control and Prevention are able to perform lab tests for Zika virus. There is no specific treatment and patients are often advised to get plenty of rest and drink fluids that prevent dehydration.

Sources:

http://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/cdcs/zika/documents/zika-virus-faqs.pdf

 

Maggie Martin, PhD.

Maggie Martin is completing her PhD. in Cell Biology, works as a lab tech for Mybiosource.com and contributes content on Biotech, Life Sciences, and Viral Outbreaks. Follow on Twitter @MaggieBiosource

 

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