Tropical 'Zika Virus' spreads in Latin America

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Published on 27 Jan 2016 11:01 AM GMT

Tropical Zika Virus spreads in Latin America
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Latin America: A rare tropical disease is rapidly spreading within the parts of Latin America and the Caribbean. The mosquito-borne 'Zika Virus' generally causes a mild illness but is now suspected to trigger other severe health issues and unusual birth defect. Following are some facts to know about the 'Zika Virus':-

How does it spread?

It is transmitted through bites from same kind of mosquitoes those who can spread other tropical diseases like Yellow Fever, Chikungunya and Dengue Fever.

The 'Zika Virus' is not known to be contagious and transferable from person to person.

Although, the investigators are exploring the possibility that the virus can be passed on through sex.

It was found in a man's semen in Tahiti and there has been another report that the virus can be spread transmitting sexually.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says that Zika is expeditiously spreading in America because it is new to the region and people are yet not immune to it. The 'Aedes Aegypti Mosquito' that carries this virus is about everywhere, inclusive of the Southern United States; however, Chile and Canada are the only regions without this mosquito.

What are the symptoms?

According to the experts, people infected with 'Zika Virus' don't usually get sick.

Those who get sick usually develop mild symptoms like fever, rash, joint-pain and red-eyes lasting not more than a week.

There has not been a vaccine or a specific medicine developed to prevent from this virus, which may give rise to some other tropical illnesses that cause periodic outbreaks.

Why is this virus a concern now?

In Brazil, there has been an evidence linking 'Zika-infection' in pregnant women to an unusual birth defect called microcephaly, in which a newborn's brain may not have developed properly and the head is smaller than the normal size.

Last October, Brazilian health officials and experts noticed a spike in cases of microcephaly in connection with the Zika outbreak.

There is still an investigation going on the connection to Zika and the officials note that there are many causes of the conditions. Almost 4,000 cases have already been tallied.

In the mean time, doctors have noted increasing reports of a nerve condition called 'Guillain-Barre' that can cause paralysis; however, the link to the Zika virus is not explicit and other infections may spark the problem, including dengue fever.

How can this virus be stopped from spreading?

Individuals can protect themselves from mosquito bites by the usage of insect repellents, and wearing long pants and long sleeves, especially during day-light when these mosquitoes are most active, health officials say.

Eliminating breeding spots and controlling over the population of mosquitoes can help prevent the spread of the virus.

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