The Zika virus broke out within the countries of South America, largely in Brazil. Since the outbreak it has moved northwards into Central and North America, with the first case being confirmed in Dallas, Texas. Until now, it is said, Zika can only be transmitted through a mosquito carrying the disease – although the case in Dallas may question this statement.

What is the Zika Virus and its Consequences?

Zika was first found in monkeys throughout Uganda in the 1940's in the Zika Forest, giving the disease its name -- with the first human known to contract the disease in 1954 in Nigeria. The disease is believed to be linked to the birth of babies which have under-developed brains making it a devastating infection for pregnant mothers – with no pharmaceutical remedy or vaccine.

Ultimately, if a pregnant mother is infected by a Zika carrying mosquito, she, in turn, can pass the infection to the baby in her womb, resulting in the baby being born with an underdeveloped head and brain.

Symptoms of Zika Virus

Firstly, death is a very rare outcome of Zika virus, but it's more likely in babies depending on how under-developed their body is when born. If the brain is so under-developed it cannot function the body correctly then death may occur. It should also be known that only 1 in 5 people carrying the disease will show one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Redness of the eye with Conjunctivitis-like symptoms
  • Mild fever and headaches
  • Pain in the elbows, knees, and other joints
  • A rash appearing on the skin

Avoiding the Zika Virus

With the virus becoming a public health emergency it has been categorized with the same importance as Ebola.

Zika is transmitted through infected mosquitos in the same manner as Dengue – keeping well covered and avoiding areas where stagnant water is prominent will help reduce the risk of infection.

Treating those infected with the Zika Virus

Like Ebola, there is no medicine available to cure the infection, at this time anyone believed to be infected with Zika is being advised to rest and drink plenty of fluids.

It's also a possibility to take painkillers to help relieve the discomfort of the fever and any pain in the body – however, it is vital to avoid aspirin based drugs until Dengue has been ruled out. Also, where possible, avoiding pregnancy will ensure that any infected mothers-to-be do not allow the virus to spread to the womb and affect the growth of their unborn baby.

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