Over the past few months, we’ve been noticing the news about a rare disease hitting the headlines around the world. Known as Zika, this disease is caused by Zika virus that is transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes. Here are the 5 facts you should know about Zika virus.
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How dangerous is Zika virus?
Zika virus was first identified in humans in 1952 in Uganda. Historically, this disease has been known to cause outbreaks in Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands. In 2014, it was detected in Brazil and have been spreading to other countries ever since. Currently, more than 18 countries have been found affected by Zika virus in the Americas.
Zika virus is known to be the most dangerous for unborn babies. According to scientists, this virus causes a birth defect, microcephaly in unborn babies. Babies born with microcephaly have an abnormally small brain. Since an under-developed brain will not let the body function properly, the baby is expected to have severe physical and developmental difficulties in hearing, vision, learning, walking. The consequences of the virus can also lead to early death of the child, in serious cases. Therefore, pregnant women are being urged to be cautious.
How is it transmitted?
Zika virus is transmitted to people through the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito found in tropical regions. Dengue, chikungunya, and malaria are also known to be transmitted by this mosquito. Apart from a mosquito bite, another mode of transmission for this virus came into light, when a person in the US was diagnosed with Zika virus due to sexual intercourse with someone who had contracted this disease while traveling to Venezuela. Although there is no evidence but this led scientists to believe that this virus can also be transmitted through sexual intercourse.
What are the symptoms?
The reason why this disease has become an epidemic is that people who are affected by Zika virus don’t even know that they are affected because it usually causes very mild symptoms like, fever, rash, conjunctivitis, headache or joint pain. These symptoms last for 2–7 days.
How can it be treated?
There is no specific treatment or vaccines available. You must treat the symptoms.
- Get plenty of rest
- Drink enough fluids to prevent dehydration
- Take common medicines like acetaminophen (Tylenol®) or paracetamol to reduce pain or fever
How to prevent the infection?
The best prevention for this infection is protection against mosquito bites.
- Use of mosquito repellent creams every day
- Wearing clothes that cover your whole body
- Sleeping under mosquito nets
- Cleaning, emptying and covering water containers that store water
- Spraying insecticides in your vicinity during outbreaks
After all, prevention is better than cure!
Originally published on Wordpress