The Zika virus has been reported with outbreaks in Brazil & Puerto Rico as it causes horrific microcephaly symptoms in your baby. It’s an infection spread by the Aedes mosquito. Learn more about how to stop this epidemic.
As the virus spreads through countries in South America, health officials are growing increasingly worried about its rapid growth. They say that the U.S. could be hit hard as 24 countries worldwide are seeing it spread at an extremely alarming rate. It’s the Zika virus, and there is no cure.
What is it?
Zika is a mosquito-borne virus transmitted by the Aedes mosquito. It was first discovered in 1947 by researchers in Uganda that were studying yellow fever. During the study, they noticed one particular monkey was suffering from a different type of fever and by 1952, they determined it was the Zika virus. The group also discovered that the virus was transmitted by mosquitos via the blood. It wasn’t until 2007, however, that any major outbreaks occurred. But even then, while there were about 49 cases on the island of Yap, no one was killed or even hospitalized.
Where is it located?
Major outbreaks began occurring in Brazil in 2015. Soon after, the virus started spreading all over South and Central American countries such as Brazil, Bolivia, Venezuela, Haiti, Barbados, the Virgin Islands, Honduras, and Mexico. The virus has recently made its way to the United States as well, but only by travelers coming from the aforementioned places.
How will it kill you?
With the outbreak came the spread of the Zika fever, which is similar to the yellow fever, West Nile Viruses, and dengue fever. It causes rashes and fevers along with other symptoms including pinkeye and arthritis. These symptoms do not last very long, usually a week or less. However, health officials have recently discovered a possible connection between the fever and microcephaly; a dangerous neurodevelopmental disorder in babies resulting in a small, undeveloped brain that leads to seizures, motor function disturbances, and severe physiological effects throughout the body.
How to survive?
In the past two months alone, Brazil has seen nearly 5,000 babies born with Zika-induced microcephaly, 51 of which have died. There is currently no vaccine available to treat the Zika virus, so health officials recommend not traveling to countries where outbreaks have occurred. Some have even gone so far as to suggest that people delay pregnancies for the next two years while experts attempt to create a vaccine. Additionally, health officials have been spraying pesticides to try to control the mosquito populations. They’ve also enlisted the help of the public by asking them to liminate all standing water that attracts mosquitoes, particularly in buckets and flower pots. While these efforts have done little to curtail the spread of the virus, some scientists believe the solution may lie in a genetically modified mosquito. According to CNN, a British company called Oxitec created a mutant Aedes mosquito whose purpose is to pass along a gene that kills its offspring. The idea is that since each female mosquito mates only once in their lifetime, it will e an effective way to slow the growth of these particular mosquito populations.