If you haven’t heard of it by now, Zika is a mosquito-borne virus that’s popping up all over South and Central America as well as parts of the Caribbean. After dealing with the Ebola epidemic, the general public seems to be frightened by the thought of another foreign virus with a funny name. So that begs the question, should we be afraid?
The Zika virus was discovered in 1947 in Uganda and in 1958, scientists found that it was primarily carried through the bite of the Aedes mosquito. At that time, it was thought to be relatively harmless due to its mild symptoms and quick recovery time. In fact, many of the people who get the virus don’t show any symptoms at all.
Recently however, due to the growing number of reported cases of infection, scientists have discovered that the virus can cause two unlikely but unfortunate conditions. First of all, the virus has been linked to Guillain-Barre syndrome, an autoimmune disease that can cause paralysis. Secondly, pregnant women who have been infected with Zika have been found to have babies with microcephaly, a birth defect that causes issues in brain development. This has been such a problem that the governments of some countries have asked women to put off getting pregnant until the epidemic blows over.
So far, we haven’t been able to necessarily prove the link between the Zika Virus and these conditions, but the correlations exist. We are learning new information about it every day, and using techniques that prevent mosquito bites (bug spray, long-sleeve shirts, mosquito nets, etc), there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be able to overcome this epidemic.
source: "What You Need to Know about Zika Virus - Harvard Health Blog." Harvard Health Blog RSS. 2016. Web. 03 Feb. 2016.
Posted by: Forootan Alizadehasil