Zika fever is a condition that presents milder forms of symptoms similar to those of dengue fever in infected persons. It is caused by the Zika virus, which is transmitted through mosquito bites. In children and adults, there are no known adverse effects of the Zika virus , except that symptoms such as rashes, itching, headache, and fatigue may make a person uncomfortable. These usually disappear after a couple of days when the person heals.
The Zika virus and the carrier mosquito
The Zika is part of the viral community of genus Flavivirus. It is closely related to the viruses that cause dengue fever and yellow fever; this accounts for the almost similar symptoms of these diseases. However, unlike Zika, the other fevers are potentially life threatening to both babies and adults.
The Aedes mosquito, which is distinguished from others by its white and black spots in the body, is the vector for this virus. Its digestive system provides suitable conditions for occupation by the virus, until it is delivered into the body of humans and animals.
Aedes were once a common place only the tropical regions. Today, however, they occupy pretty much every part of the globe, except the Antarctica. The mosquitoes usually bite whenever there is light, especially during morning and evenings.
Signs and symptoms of Zika Fever
The most common symptoms of Zika fever are muscle fatigue and headache. However, only about 20 to 40 percent of infected people ever experience these symptoms; in most cases, the infection is asymptomatic. But there are certain people who, in addition to the mentioned conditions, will develop red rashes on the face and chest, swollen and sore eyes, and joint pains.
Zika Virus Outbreak
Recently, cases of Zika fever infections have been reported in many tropical and subtropical countries around the world. The virus was first discovered in 1947 in Uganda; further tests showed that it was present in most other African and Asian around the tropical belt.
It is only recently, however, that more attention is shifting to the condition due to its rapid increase. Brazil is now one of the most affected countries; it was also the first country to report the first case in recent years. The southern parts of America and China and northern Australia have also reported increasing rates of Zika infections. In January 2016, the CDC released a travel advisory for pregnant women against visiting Brazil and sixteen other countries to minimize potential threats posed by the virus to the unborn. By February 2016, 24 countries are grappling with Zika outbreak. The WHO called it a pandemic and declared it a global emergency. Read more about Zika and countries affected.
While the Zika has no known serious threats to children and adults, a strong relationship has been established between the virus and Microcephaly- a condition in which babies are born with smaller than normal heads.
Officials in Brazil have also noted an increase in diagnoses of Guillain–Barré syndrome since the Zika fever started making headlines. Research is still ongoing to establish the exact relationships between these conditions.
There is no treatment for Zika fever. Most people wait for the symptoms to wane naturally, while a few use painkillers to reduce discomforts. To minimize chances of contracting the fever, avoid mosquito bites by covering your skin and using insect repellents appropriately.
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