Zika virus is a flavivirus borne via mosquitoes which was first acknowledged in Uganda in 1947 in monkeys through a network that observed yellow fever according to the World Health Organization (WHO). In 1952 in Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania it was identified in humans. The Zika virus disease outbreak have been recorded in Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific. Human infections were found across Africa and Asia from the 1960’s to 1980’s usually accompanied by mild illness. In 2007 the first large outbreak of disease caused by Zika infection was reported from the Island of Yap (Federated States of Micronesia). In July 2015 Brazil testified an association between Zika virus infection and Guillain-Barré syndrome again in October 2015 an association between Zika virus infection and microcephaly.
Symptoms of zika virus
The duration of Zika virus disease exposure to symptoms of is not clear, but is expected to be a few days. The symptoms are alike to other arbovirus infections like dengue, and include fever, skin rashes, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise, and headache. These symptoms are usually minor and last for 2-7 days.
There is a scientific agreement that Zika virus is caused by microcephaly and Guillain-Barré syndrome. Extreme efforts are continuing to investigate the connection between Zika virus and a variety of neurological disorders, within a severe research structure.
Zika virus is mostly transmitted to people through the bite of an infected mosquito from the Aedes genus, primarily Aedes aegypti in tropical regions. The Aedes mosquitoes generally bite during the day, mainly early morning and late afternoon/evening. This is the same mosquito that spreads dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever. Zika virus can also be transmitted sexually is also possible. Other methods of transmission like blood transfusion are being considered.
Infection with Zika virus may be supposed on the basis of the symptoms and recent history of travel on dwelling in or travel to an area with active Zika virus transmission. A detection of Zika virus infection can only be established through laboratory tests on blood or other body liquids, such as urine, saliva or semen.
Zika virus disease is usually minor and requires no specific treatment. People suffering from Zika virus should get plenty of rest, drink enough fluids, and treat pain and fever with common medicines unless symptoms worsen, then they should seek medical care and advice. There is currently no vaccine available.
Protection against mosquito bites is a key method to prevent Zika virus infection. This can be done by wearing clothes (if possible light-coloured clothes) that cover as much of the body as possible; using physical barriers such as window screens or by closing doors and windows; sleeping under mosquito nets; and using insect repellent containing DEET, IR3535 or icaridin conferring to the product tag instructions. Special attention and help should be given to those who may need help to protect themselves effectively, such as young children, the sick or elderly. Basic safety measures described above must be applied by travellers and those living in affected areas to protect themselves from mosquito bites. It is very important to cover, empty or clean likely mosquito breeding sites in and around houses like buckets, drums, pots, gutters, and used tyres. There should be community support regarding the local government efforts to reduce mosquitoes in their locality. Health authorities may also recommend the use of spraying of insecticides be carried out.
Sexual transmission of Zika virus has been recognized in several different countries. To decrease the risk of sexual transmission and potential pregnancy complications related to Zika virus infection, the sexual partners of pregnant women who are living in or returning from areas where local transmission of Zika virus occurs should practice safer sex (which includes using condoms) or refrain from sexual activity throughout the pregnancy. Furthermore, people returning from areas where local transmission of Zika virus transpires should implement safer sexual practices or abstain from sex for at least 8 weeks after their return, even if they don’t have symptoms. If men suffer from Zika virus indications they should adopt safer sexual practices or consider abstinence for at least 6 months. Those planning to get pregnant should wait at least 8 weeks before trying to conceive if no symptoms of Zika virus infection is shown, or 6 months if one or both members of the couple are infected.