Zika is spread by Aedes genus mosquitoes that are infected. It was identified in 1947 Central Africa in the Zika Valley. It spread across Asia, the Pacific Islands and the Americas, and while it is dangerous to newborn babies, and fetuses, it is not dangerous to adults or children. The Zika virus belongs the falviviruses family, which also includes yellow fever, dengue, and West Nile.
A Purdue University research team discovered that Zika has an RNA genome that is surrounded by a fatty membrane, inside a protein shell. This could be critical to the development of a vaccine.
According to the CDC, only 1 in 5 people that are infected with the Zika virus will actually become ill. The majority of people that have been infected will experience no symptoms, they may be unaware that they were ever infected.
However, for those who do feel symptoms, they include: joint pain, red eyes, conjunctivitis, fever, and rash.
It is rare that the Zika virus results in death, or even hospitalization. However, there is a strong link between Zika and birth defects, such as severe brain damage. Pregnancies that are in their first trimester are the most susceptible. Additionally, the virus can lead to miscarriages. Brazil has seen a number of newborns born, of infected mothers, with microcephaly. There may also be links to Guillain-Barre syndrome in adults, which is a serious form of paralysis.
It is generally diagnosed after a number of blood tests and there are no medications or vaccines that are currently able to treat the virus. If someone is suffering from symptoms of Zika and seeks medical treatment they will be given acetaminophen for the fever and pain, and instructed to consume plenty of fluids.
There are a number of ways to prevent yourself from being infected with the Zika virus. Avoid traveling to countries that are currently dealing with outbreaks- your greatest risk comes from traveling to Zika exposed areas. That currently includes Puerto Rico, South America, a number of Central American countries, as well as the Caribbean.
If you are unable to avoid travel, check whether your travel destination has been recently affected by the Zika virus. If it is, ensure you wear long clothing, including boots and socks, and sleep in an enclosed/netted space.
Minimize your time outside as much as possible, and use insect repellants that are effective, such as IR3535, picaridin, 20 percent DEET, or oil of lemon eucalyptus. Note: all insect repellants registered with the EPA are safe for a pregnant and breastfeeding woman.The case count in the United States stands at 3,358. 3,314 of those were contracted through traveling, while 1 was obtained in the laboratory. However, 43 were locally acquired, all of which occurred in Florida. There have been 28 cases of sexually transmitted Zika. 8 infections have resulted in Guillain-Barre syndrome. If you happen to live in Florida, you can do your part to prevent mosquito breeding. Eliminate any standing water on your property as soon as you have spotted it.