Zika virus is a dangerous virus that is transmitted through Aedes aegepty mosquitoes . About 1 in 5 people who are infected with the Zika virus becomes sick, has Zika disease or Zika fever. The disease caused by this virus was first recorded in 1947 in Africa and has spread to epidemics in many different countries, with ongoing outbreaks in Brazil and Puerto Rico; the first diagnosis of Zika virus in the United States occurred in Harris County (Houston), Texas, in January 2016.
Causes of Zika Virus
Zika virus is a virus related to dengue, West Nile, and other viruses. The Zika virus may play a role in the occurrence of congenital microcephaly (head and small brain) in the fetus from infected pregnant women. This virus is transmitted to people by Aedes mosquitoes as a factor; so mosquito bites are a risk factor.
The incubation period is about three to 12 days after the bite of an infected mosquito. Most infections do not spread from person to person. In Brazil, outbreaks of Zika virus infection may be related to the development of congenital microcephaly; Epidemiological evidence from Zika uses a virus isolated from amniotic fluid, brain and baby’s heart with microcephaly. The prognosis for most Zika virus infections is good; However, complications such as microcephaly, if proven to be associated with infection in pregnancy, will be a bad outcome.
Symptoms of the Zika Virus
The most common symptoms of Zika virus are fever, rash, joint pain, or conjunctivitis (red eye). Other common symptoms include muscle aches and headaches. The incubation period (time from symptom exposure) for Zika virus disease is unknown, but may range from a few days to a week. The disease is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week. People usually do not show enough pain to go to the hospital and Zika is actually rarely deadly. The Zika virus usually stays in the blood of an infected person for about a week but can be found again in some people.
Zika Virus Diagnosis
The symptoms of Zika are similar to dengue fever and chikungunya , a disease that spreads through the same mosquito that transmits Zika, the Aedes mosquito. Check with a doctor if you experience the symptoms described above and have visited the area where Zika was found.
If you have just traveled, tell your doctor when and where you are traveling. Health care providers can recommend special blood tests to find Zika or other similar viruses such as dengue fever or chikungunya.
Treatment of Zika Virus
There is no vaccine to prevent or special medications to treat Zika infection.
Treatment only treats symptoms:
- Drink fluids to prevent dehydration
- Take medications such as acetaminophen to relieve fever and pain
- Don’t take aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- If you take medication for other medical conditions, talk to your doctor before taking additional medication
During the first week of infection, the Zika virus can be found in the blood and an infected person can transmit it to others in such a way that the person is bitten by a mosquito, then the mosquito bites another person because the mosquito becomes infected. Infected mosquitoes can then spread the virus to other people.
Prevention of Zika Virus
- There is no vaccine to prevent Zika virus disease
- Prevent Zika by avoiding mosquito bites
- Mosquitoes that spread the Zika bite virus mostly fly during the day
- Mosquitoes that spread the Zika virus also spread dengue fever and chikungunya
When traveling to countries where Zika virus or other viruses are found, and that is caused by mosquito bites, do the following:
- Wear a long-sleeved shirt and trousers
- Stay in places with air conditioning or in a room that uses windows and door screens to keep mosquitoes from outside
- Sleep under a mosquito net if you are abroad or outside and unable to protect yourself from mosquito bites
- Use insect repellents (mosquito sprays or mosquito repellent). When used with directed, insect repellents have proven safe and effective, even for pregnant and lactating women
- Always follow the product label instructions
- Do not spray insect repellent on the skin under the clothes
- If you also use sunscreen, use sunscreen before applying insect repellent
If you have a baby or child:
- Do not use insect repellent for babies younger than 2 months of age
- Dress that covers your arms and legs
- Cover the box, push cart and baby carrier with mosquito netting
- Do not apply insect repellent to children in the hands, eye area, mouth area, and injured or irritated skin
- Adults: Spray insect repellent into your hands and then to the child’s face.
- Give permethrin to clothes
- Clothes are used after several washings (washed after permethrin)
- If you treat the items yourself, follow the product instructions carefully
- Do not use permethrin products directly on the skin. Permetrin is intended to “treat” clothes
If you suffer from Zika, protect others from illness
- During the first week of infection, the Zika virus can be found in the blood and transmitted from infected people to other mosquitoes through mosquito bites. Infected mosquitoes can then spread the virus to other people
- To help prevent others from getting sick, avoid being bitten by mosquitoes during the first week of illness.
Zika Virus Transmission
Through mosquito bites
The Zika virus is transmitted to people primarily through the bite of Aedes mosquitoes infected with A. aegypti and A. albopictus mosquito species. These are the same mosquitoes for dengue fever and the chikungunya virus. These mosquitoes usually lay eggs in calm water such as buckets, bowls, animal plates, flower pots and vases. They prefer to bite people, and live indoors or outside.
- Mosquitoes that spread chikungunya, dengue fever and Zika will become aggressive bites during the day. They can also bite at night
- Mosquitoes become infected when they suck blood from people who have been infected with the virus. Namuk who are infected can then spread the virus to others through bites.
Mother-to-child transmission (rarely occurs)
- A mother who has been infected with the Zika virus at the time of delivery can transmit the virus to her baby at delivery, but this is rare.
- It is possible that the Zika virus can be transmitted from mother to baby during pregnancy. Health experts are studying how some mothers can transmit the virus to their babies
- Until now, there have been no reports of infants contracting the Zika virus through breastfeeding. Because breastfeeding has many benefits, mothers are encouraged to breastfeed even in areas where the Zika virus is found.
Through infected blood or sexual contact
- The spread of the virus through blood transfusions and sexual relations has been reported.
Where is the Zika virus found?
Prior to 2015, the Zika virus outbreak had occurred in the regions of Africa, Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands. In May 2015, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) issued a warning regarding Zika virus infection in Brazil. At present, outbreaks occur in many countries. The Zika virus will continue to spread and it will be difficult to determine how the virus will spread from time to time.
The Zika virus has now penetrated the United States. Local Zika cases have been reported in the United States, but there are also cases coming from tourists. Local infectious Zika viruses have been reported in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico , US Virgin Islands, and American Samoa. With this new outbreak, the number of Zika cases for tourists coming or returning to the United States is likely to increase. Import cases can result in the spread of local viruses in several regions of the United States.
On February 3, 2016, the Minister of Health Nila F Moeloek confirmed that a Jambi resident had suffered from this virus, however, Minister of Health appealed to the public not to be afraid because characteristically, the Zika virus was not as bad as dengue fever when it came to adults.
Once again, Zika is dangerous when it comes to pregnant women because it will potentially give birth to baby microcephaly.