Zika Virus was first detected in the year 1947 in a monkey in Africa, Uganda. During those early years, the virus was most evident in Africa and Asia. A decade ago, new cases were found in the Islands in the Pacific Ocean. 2016 reports by the world health organization (WHO) show an estimate of 3 to 4 million infections over a period of 12 months. In January 2016, the WHO convened an emergency committee to deliberate on the rise in the spread of Zika virus. The virus has been connected to numerous birth defects.

Zika-VirusImage:pixabay.com

Association with birth malformations and neurological syndrome

In addition to small heads, the virus has also been linked to Guillain-Barre syndrome in infants. Small heads are risky as they might cause developmental problems, and if the case is severe, it could lead to death. Guillain-Barre is an autoimmune disorder. It’s a rare condition but when it occurs it could result in life-threatening paralysis.


No vaccine and no cure for Zika virus

There is no vaccine to block the infection or medicines to cure those who are infected. With no treatment and prevention options, women have been advised to avoid getting pregnant as long as risks of transmission exist.


Potential for spread

Mosquito populations spread very rapidly, especially in El Nino weather patterns. The fact that the mosquito that carry the virus can be found almost everywhere increases the risk of more transmission. Uncollected garbage, untended birth birds, and discarded tires increase the breeding grounds for mosquitos thus to swift spread of the Zika virus.

It takes 10 to 11 days for the mosquito to be fully infected and pass on the virus to human beings.
Travel to the infected areas has been noted as another factor fueling the widespread of the virus, with traveler’s especially pregnant women being urged to take this seriously.


No, or minimal symptoms to the infected

Approximately 80% of those infected with the virus never feel sick, or they get very mild symptoms. This poses an enormous risk, especially to pregnancy.


Impaired research

Zika virus has been linked as a cause of birth defects. However, it has been a challenge researching on the issue since countries with high dengue infections are also victims of dengue diseases. This is because human beings produce antibodies to respond to both viruses, but tests cannot make out the difference between them. Mosquitoes that transmit Zika virus are the same ones responsible for Dengue and chikungunya diseases.


Sources:
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jan/28/zika-virus-spreading-explosively-says-world-health-organisation

http://edition.cnn.com/2016/01/28/health/zika-virus-global-response/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/why-the-united-states-is-vulnerable-to-spread-of-zika-virus/2016/01/26/a8c6a9b4-c440-11e5-8965-0607e0e265ce_story.html