Why Should We Worry About Zika Virus?
Zika Virus is going to be a game changer because it is spreading at a very dangerous rate which makes it unstoppable. To date, there is no death reported caused by this virus, but a large number of births of infants with unusually small head is really something scary. Since May 2015, this virus has started spread from Africa to 22 Caribbean and Latin American countries and now in India. In Brazil nearly 4,180 babies have been born with microcephaly (unusually small head and underdevelopment brain) since October 2015. Approximately 150 cases were reported in 2014 and 46 deaths of babies are also linked with Zika. According to World Health Organization (WHO) this virus will spread across south, central and North America and will affect 3 to 4 million people. Center for disease control (CDC) has issued a travel advisory for pregnant women to avoid traveling to 23 countries. On the other side El Salvador’s health officials have advised women to avoid pregnancy for minimum 2 years due to concern about possible birth defects. They also revealed they had found nearly 500 Zika Virus cases. Now, several cases are popping up in the United States. When it’s come to the confirmed cases, till now 18 cases are reported in 7 states of America. The common thing in these cases is victims used to travel to the affected areas. While Canada and Chile are safe as there is no carrier for this virus.
Let’s find out what actually zika is?
What is Zika Virus and Where it Came From?
Zika, a strange mosquito borne virus is the member of the flavivirus genus of viruses. This genus also includes dengue, chikungunya, west nile and yellow fever. The Aedes aegypti mosquito carries Zika. In brazil 220,00 military personnel are going door to door to help in current efforts to eradicate the mosquitoes.
This virus causes a mild fever known as Zika fever or Zika disease in humans which is similar to mild form of dengue fever.
A Brief History of Zika Virus:
- It was first isolated from rhesus monkey in Uganda in 1947, Specifically within Uganda’s Zika forest.
- The first human case of the mosquito-borne virus was identified in Nigeria in the 1954.
- From 1951 to 1981, isolated cases were reported Africa and parts of south East Asia.
- A 2007 outbreak in Micronesia infected nearly 50 people, but caused no deaths.
- In 2013-2014, and outbreak in French Polynesia was linked to an increase in the neurological disease Guillain-Barre Syndrome.
- In April 2015, the zika virus caused an outbreak in northeastern brazil.
- The disease spread to Colombia by October 13,500 cases of zika have been reported.
- By December multiple countries in south and Central America, and the Caribbean had reported cases.
- In January 2016, Zika virus was diagnosed in travelers from Arkansas, Virginia, California, Texas and Minnesota.
Zika Disease Transmission:
It is transmitted through the bite of an infected daytime-active Aedes species mosquito from person-to-person. It is not contagious, if someone has this virus they are not going to give it to you simply by talking to you or just being around you. It could be transmitted through sexual contact and blood transfusion.
If you are a non pregnant human then you are probably not going to suffer any serious health concern. However, if you are pregnant women then you do have something to worry about. It is possible that Zika disease could be passed from already infected mother to her newborn child near the time of birth. Scientists are being investigating this type of transmission.
When it came to breastfeeding, there are no reports of babies getting this virus through breastfeeding. But because of the advantages of it mothers are recommended to breastfeed even in affected areas.
But most important question is, can Zika virus become airborne? Answer to this question is NO because flaviviruses are not transmitted as aerosols or by respiratory route.
Symptoms of Zika Disease:
80% of the people who are exposed to the virus don’t get symptoms at all. Somewhat symptoms do occur they came several days to several weeks after exposure.
Symptoms typically includes
- Arthralgia (Sore joints)
- Abdominal Pain
The most severely affected patients can develop encephalitis inflammation of the brain. Those with mild symptoms recover after several days and those with severe symptoms may take several weeks. In the modern era death from viruses is relatively uncommon, provided that conventional medical care is available to the patient, so many of these diseases strike in impoverished areas of the tropics that may not always be the case.
Zika Virus and Pregnancy:
Zika Disease’s biggest concern is birth defects in newborn infants which is called microcephaly. Though it isnt scientifically proven that zika causes microcephaly. Very early on it became clear that the babies with microcephaly had imbalance classifications in the brain, so we knew it was infection. So when the baby then develops, the brain doesnt develop. Some structures are missing in the brain and the head is small. When we diagnose microcephaly, the harm is done.
To prevent birth defects associated with the virus, women are being encouraged to postpone pregnancy for minimum 2 years. It may sounds like population control by the government but delaying pregnancy for two years won’t control population at all, world should have to worry about this situation because precaution is always better than treatment.
However, Rather than calling on women to delay pregnancy, government should concentrate its efforts on the real culprit. Eradicate the disease not the patient.
How to Prevent Zika Disease? Is There any Treatment?
Till date, there is no vaccine to prevent Zika Disease and also currently no treatment to treat. One of the main reasons behind this is mild symptoms of Zika fever. These can be treated as normal as seasonal fever, minor flu and headaches. But now, world is facing fear because of it’s strike on new born babies and possible reason behind microcephaly. According to scientists of United States and Canada, vaccine for this virus will be available for emergency use before the end of the 2016. The vaccine is currently under development and scientists are hoping to test this vaccine in September.
The only way to prevent zika is to prevent mosquito’s bites. Before knowing how to prevent mosquitoes bites I would like to tell you exactly Why Mosquitoes bite us and what attract these very annoying blood-sucking insects?
Do You Know, Mosquitoes Can Sense You From 100 Feet Away.
Why Mosquitoes Are Biting You?
Mosquitoes want your blood but not the reason you might think.
- Vital Fluids: male mosquitoes actually aren’t interested in your vital fluids at all but females are very interested, they need human blood to fertile eggs.
- Blood Type: According to Japanese scientists, People having O blood group are twice prone to get bitten in contrast to the people having blood group A. However for group B or AB group, are not sure with mosquito bites.
- Full Moon: An amazing research by American Mosquito Control Association shows that mosquitoes becomes 500 times more active when the moon coincides its full shape.
- Alcohol: Scientific research also shows that after alcohol consumption a person becomes more likely to get bitten from a mosquito.
- Smelly Feet: Mosquitoes attracts to the smell of feet. But If you would clean your smelly feet, they will start biting your whole body.
- Pregnancy: According to some more research, mosquitoes also attracts towards extra moisture areas as well as where carbon dioxide is greater in amount. Such as in pregnancy, when women expires more carbon dioxide and their body temperature becomes warmer than normal.
- Physical Activity: Human bodys physical activity such as walking, working increases the chance of getting bitten by mosquitoes 50% more due to sweating. Mosquitoes are attracted to minerals which came out in sweat of our body.
- Dark Clothing: Dark colors are mosquitos favorite, they tend to attract towards black and red . While they dont like khaki, green or yellow colors so they dont go mostly towards them.