All About The Zika Virus: 10 Quick Facts
Zika virus is a mosquito-borne flavivirus that was first identified in Uganda in 1947 in monkeys through a network that monitored yellow fever. It was later identified in humans in 1952 in Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania.
Here are some key facts about the Zika virus:
- The virus, originally named ZIKV, was first discovered in 1947 in a rhesus macaque in the Zika forest in Uganda.
- Zika virus disease is caused by a virus transmitted primarily by Aedes mosquitoes.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed Zika can spread through sex, usually after a person traveled to an area where Zika has broken out, got the virus, and gave the virus to a sex partner who did not travel.
- People with Zika virus disease can have symptoms including mild fever, skin rash, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise or headache. These symptoms normally last for 2-7 days.
- Only about 1 in 5 people with the virus will exhibit symptoms. The vast majority have no symptoms at all.
- There is scientific consensus that Zika virus is a cause of microcephaly and Guillain-Barre syndrome. Links to other neurological complications are also being investigated.
- There's no treatment for the Zika virus infection but most people with symptoms do well with over-the-counter medications for aches and pains. The disease usually runs its course within a week or so.
- When pregnant women are infected with Zika, the unborn child is most at risk as it can lead to microcephaly. Microcephaly may cause mental retardation, as well as delays in speech, movement, and growth.
- If you're in areas with a current Zika outbreak, take steps to avoid catching the virus. "The best way to avoid mosquito bites is to use a repellent.
- Controlling the insect vector by cutting down on mosquito breeding is one way to prevent spread of Zika and other mosquito-borne viruses.
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