ZIKA VIRUS

  • The Zika virus, first identified in Uganda in 1947, is transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes, the same type of mosquito that carries dengue fever, yellow fever, and chikungunya virus.
  •  A mosquito bites an infected person and then passes those viruses to other people it bites.
  • Outbreaks did not occur outside of Africa until 2007, when it spread to the South Pacific.
  • The Zika disease had seen swift expansion between early 2015 and January 2016 throughout South America and Caribbean where babies with abnormally smaller heads due to Microcephaly were born.
  • 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. Infected women and men can both pass the virus to sex partners — even if they haven’t shown symptoms of infection. In addition, infected pregnant women can pass the virus on to their fetus.
  • Some studies have also shown the virus can be found in blood, semen, urine, and saliva of infected people, as well as in fluids in the eye.
  • The disease can cause fever, rash, joint pain, and redness in the whites of the eye (conjunctivitis, or pinkeye). But most people won’t know they have it.
  • There’s no treatment. The disease usually runs its course within a week or so.
  • There is no vaccine against Zika.
  • Zika causes microcephaly in babies born to infected pregnant women. Microcephaly stunts a baby’s head growth, causing devastating, sometimes fatal brain damage, and it can result in miscarriage or stillbirth.