Zika is a virus that is commonly spread by the Aedes mosquito species. We will go through an overview of the Zika virus including its symptoms, risks and prevention.
How do you Catch Zika Virus?
Aedes mosquitoes are aggressive biters that spread Zika virus, dengue and yellow fever. Another mosquito species that can transmit Zika is the Culex mosquito. The virus can be transmitted through direct contact of bodily fluids, blood, urine, semen, amniotic fluids as well as saliva.
What is the Connection between Zika and Pregnancy?
Pregnant women are also at risk of Zika and should take measures to prevent mosquito bites when travelling to affected areas. Seek the advice of a doctor prior to travelling to an area where Zika is spreading.
Which Countries are Most Affected?
The reported cases of Zika virus are in Africa, Americas, Asia and the Pacific. The Aedes mosquito which is the most deadly species that transmits the virus is found in tropical and subtropical climates of Africa. In other regions that are known to have cooler temperatures, Zika virus can be transmitted by the Aedes albopictus mosquito species.
Is there a Treatment or Vaccine for Zika Virus?
The symptoms of Zika virus such as fever, joint pain and fatigue can be treated using common pain and fever medications. Individuals are also advised to seek plenty of rest and drink lots of water. If the symptoms worsen, it’s important to seek the help of a doctor.
What are the Symptoms of Zika Virus?
Most people infected with the virus experience a slight fever or rash, the same way it may appear when bitten by a mosquito. In rare cases, the virus causes muscle and joint pain which can last up to 7 days after infection. For most of the cases, bites from infected mosquitos do not result in any symptoms.
How is the Virus Diagnosed?
Laboratory tests can be done to confirm the presence of Zika virus in the bloodstream. However, the virus is difficult to diagnose because the symptoms are similar to dengue and yellow fever. Research and development is ongoing to determine a suitable diagnosis for the virus.
How can you Protect yourself from Zika Virus?
To protect yourself from Zika virus, use a mosquito repellent when travelling to affected areas, wear long shirts and pants especially during the day. Be extremely vigilant when travelling to affected areas to avoid mosquito bites both indoors and outdoors.
Maggie Martin is completing her PhD in Cell Biology, works as a lab tech for Mybiosource.com and contributes content on Biotech, Life Sciences, and Viral Outbreaks. Follow on Twitter @MaggieBiosource