What Is Zika Virus: Symptoms, Effects, Transmission & Pregnancy
1. What is Zika Virus? An Overview
While the year 2015 is quite significant in the modern timeline due to a myriad of international news and events, one of the most significant entries on the calendar is the outbreak of the Zika fever epidemic.
Initially hitting the state of Brazil in early 2015, this mosquito virus quickly took the form of an epidemic that engulfed the entirety of South America, North America, Central America, and the Caribbean. As the outbreak flared, it infected some 1.5 million people in Brazil alone, and about 3,500 cases microscopically from 2015 to 2016.
First discovered in the year 1947 in the Zika Forest of Uganda, the Zika virus is classified as a highly contagious disease that has a direct lineage to some of the most deadly viruses, such as dengue, yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis, and West Nile viruses. This extremely potent virus represents no specific set of zika symptoms and usually mimics those of dengue.
Some of the most prevalent symptoms of Zika virus include conjunctivitis, joint pain (particularly in hands and feet), low fever, and a rash that progresses throughout the body. While there are preventive measures in place to combat the severity of the virus, a definitive vaccine for the same is still to enter the mainstream pharmaceutical markets.
2. Zika Transmission Vectors
Since its detection in the late 1940s, the Zika virus has ravaged a number of regions in the equatorial belt from Africa to Asia while creating an epidemic in the American continent and establishing its presence in other parts of the world between 2015 to 2016. As with other known viruses, Zika is also considered to be highly contagious and can easily spread through a variety of vectors.
Some zika transmissions are elaborated below
3. How does Zika virus spread?
Just like dengue and chikungunya, the Zika virus is primarily transmitted through the bite of a specific species of mosquitoes, Aedes. The virus incubates in humid and water-logged locations, such as the likes of buckets, animal dyes, bowls, and flower ports. Once the eggs are laid, the resulting breeding of the mosquito virus affects people both indoors and outdoors.
Furthermore, mirroring a Hollywood Zombie movie transmission pattern, a mosquito can easily carry the infected blood of a Zika infected individual and can then spread the virus to other people through bites.
4. Zika Virus and Pregnancy
This is where the Zika virus is the most dangerous. An infected pregnant woman can transfer the virus to the fetus. This transference can lead to a variety of brain defects for the fetus, namely microcephaly, etc. As per new research, scientists have now determined that the effects of the Zika virus on a fetus are at their worst during the first trimester.
The reason behind the virus's enhanced threat to the fetus is that during pregnancy, the risks and symptoms of Zika virus increases and is able to manipulate the mother's immune system, which enables easy access for Zika to the fetus. The manipulation process entails tricking the immune system by the virus into believing that the host body is recuperating from the Zika virus. This, in turn, leads to the lowering of defenses of the immune system and makes the expectant mother open to the full fury of the virus.
The virus, due to this duplicity, then rapidly replicates itself in the placenta of pregnant women and in the brain of fetuses.
Zika virus effects are extremely dangerous to a pregnant woman and her fetus.
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