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Zika virus. What is it and how is it spread

Zika virus. What is it and how is it spread


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Zika virus is a virus that transmits a mosquito living in tropical areas. It is so called because the first recognized case of this virus was located in the Zika forests, in Uganda (Africa), in 1947.

The virus spread to other continents. In 2015, the first case of Zika virus occurred in South America. Specifically, it was in Salvador de Bahía (Brazil). In view of the alarming increase in cases, the Zika virus it was quickly classified as an epidemic.

The Zika virus transmitted by a mosquito of the genus Aedes, of tropical origin. Specifically, the mosquito is the Aedes aegypti, the same one that infects dengue or chikungunya. It has characteristic white spots on its body, and it lives mainly in areas of low altitude above sea level (areas located less than 2,000 meters above sea level are the most exposed to the Zika virus).

The mosquito is tiny, it barely measures 7 millimeters, and those that transmit the disease are the females. You have to be especially careful first thing in the morning and at sunset, because that's when they bite the most.

Contrary to what we might think, these mosquitoes They do not reproduce in areas of dirty water, but in areas of clean water. Even so, it is advisable to take extreme hygiene to avoid areas of stagnant water. In addition, this mosquito can live both outdoors and indoors.

The mosquitoes that cause this virus inject their saliva through the skin. They mainly attack the ankles and elbows area. Their saliva can transmit Zika, dengue, yellow fever, or chikungunya, depending on whether the mosquito was infected with any of these viruses. After the bite of the mosquito that carries Zika, these symptoms appear:

- Fever

- Conjunctivitis

- Localized arthritis in the hands and feet and joint pain

- Skin rashes

- Headache

Symptoms last about 7 days and not all people develop the disease. But the consequences can be very serious in the event that the infected person is a pregnant woman, since the WHO has shown that the Zika virus produces microcephaly in newborns. For this reason, it asks the countries affected by the Zika virus to let the pregnant woman infected with the virus choose whether or not she wants to continue with the pregnancy.

The main cases detected are mainly in pregnant women and babies. They are the ones most at risk of contracting this virus. Diagnosis is made by a blood test that is sent to a laboratory. There they confirm if the person is a carrier of the virus.

In the case of pregnant women, the Zika virus is especially virulent, since it is able to cross the placenta and reach the baby. Increasing cases of newborns born with microcephaly In the areas with the highest incidence of the Zika virus, it made experts from the World Health Organization look for a possible relationship. Studies revealed that Zika actually reaches the fetal brain tissues and causes microcephaly and other neuronal problems. In some countries such as Colombia, couples have been recommended to delay their intention to seek pregnancy until the epidemic is controlled, while the WHO asks the affected countries to allow the pregnant woman to have an abortion in case of an abortion. infected with the Zika virus.

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Video: WHO: Qu0026A - Zika virus prevention through mosquito control (December 2022).