Zika virus, also known as ZIKV, is a type of arbovirus, mosquito-borne disease, transmitted by daytime-active Aedes mosquitoes, such as A. aegypti. The health problems caused by Zika virus is declared as "a public health emergency of international concern" by the World Health Organization. It is estimated that the Zika virus could infect three to four million people before the epidemic dies out.
The Zika virus causes illness known as Zika fever, Zika, or Zika disease. The Zika virus is mostly asymptomatic, and in four of five cases, the victims doesn't know they contracted Zika virus. See Zika virus Symptoms. A virus is an organism that finds a living host and replicates itself inside those cells, causing someone to fall ill.
The recent outbreak of Zika virus began in April 2015 in Brazil. It subsequently spread to other countries in South America, Central America and the Caribbean. The World Health Organization predicts that the Zika virus could spread the majority of the Americas by the end of 2016. For more information, read Zika virus outbreak. The virus is known to circulate in Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific. About 130 countries are home to the Aedes aegypti mosquito that carries the virus.
The current outbreak of Zika virus started in 2015 in Brazil. Between 1 January 2007 and 17 February 2016, a total of 48 countries and territories have reported local transmission of Zika virus.
Affected Countries: The Zika virus was currently reported in more than 33 countries: Australia, Brazil, Barbados, Bolivia, Canada, Columbia, Dominican Republic, Equador, El Salvador, French Guyana, Germany, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Italy, Japan, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, St Martin, Suriname, United States of America, Virgin Island and Venezuela.
Zika, like Ebola, is fundamentally a disease of poverty. Safe running water, improved hygiene and sanitation and better housing will help a long way towards reducing the risk of Zika virus.
- The Zika virus was discovered in Zika forest in Uganda, Africa in 1947, but it is believed that the virus existed much earlier than that.
- Zika virus is named after the Zika forest in Uganda.
- Zika virus was discovered when looking for sylvatic yellow fever in rhesus monkeys and was found in mosquitoes in 1948.
- It was subsequently identified in humans in 1952 in Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania
- Mosquitoes become infected by feeding on animals infected with the virus.
- After mosquitoes contract the virus, there is an incubation period in which the virus spreads through the mosquito, into salivary glands.
- It is unsure as of yet if the Zika virus can be spread from a mosquito to its progeny.
- Between the discovery and 2007, only 14 human infections of Zika virus were documented.
- Studies conducted on populations in Africa and Asia found high levels of immunity towards the Zika virus, suggesting previous undocumented transmission.
- It’s expected to take a few years to develop a vaccine or therapeutics for Zika.
- The current strategy to manage Zika is to reduce the mosquito population, including clearing stagnant water where the mosquitoes breed.
- The mosquito that carries Zika virus, aedes aegypti, prefers to be indoors and bite humans throughout the day.
- Handful of cases have popped up in several parts of the world, but it was considered an obscure disease till 2013
- Zika virus can be found in breast milk, it's not yet confirmed it can be passed to a baby through nursing.
- The second case of Zika virus in a pregnant women was reported in Spain. The total number of cases of Zika virus in Spain has now reached 23.
- Jamaica Health Ministry releases a public service annoucement about the ongoing Zika virus outbreak
- Hawaii Governor David Ige declares state of emergency to combat mosquito-borne illnesses including dengue fever and Zika virus
- WHO official says that a vaccine for Zika is approximately 18 months away
- The first reported case of sexual transmission of Zika virus in the United States is reported in Texas
- World Health Organization declares Zika virus, "a public health emergency of international concern"
- For recent news about Zika virus, read Zika virus News