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10 Quick Facts about Zika Virus

   Fact 1: About the Zika virus
  • Zika fever is caused by the Zika virus (ZIKV), an arthropod-borne virus (arbovirus).
  • The Zika virus is a member of the Flavivirus genus in the family Flaviviridae.

  • RNA virus
  • It is related to dengue, yellow fever, West Nile and Japanese encephalitis, viruses that are also members of the virus family Flaviviridae.

Fact 2: Why the name ‘Zika’?
  • First identified in Uganda in 1947 in rhesus monkeys.  It is named after the ‘Zika forest’ in Uganda.
  • It was subsequently identified in humans in 1952 in Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania.

  • The virus is known to circulate in Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific.
    Fact 3: About the vector
  • The vector is Aedes mosquitoes mainly Aedes aegypti 
Fact 4: Symptoms

Fact 5: Diagnosis
Laboratory testing for the presence of Zika virus RNA in the blood or other body fluids, such as urine or saliva.
Fact 6: Treatment
  • No specific treatment or vaccine currently available. Zika virus disease is usually relatively mild and requires no specific treatment. If symptoms last for a longer period, seek medical attention.
  • The best form of prevention is protection against mosquito bites.
Fact 7: Why Zika is considered dangerous?
Potential complications: Two major diseases seem to be associated with Zika disease. They are

a) Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS) is an autoimmune disease in which a person’s own immune system damages their nerve cells, causing muscle weakness and sometimes even paralysis.

b) Microcephaly is a medical condition in which the brain does not develop properly resulting in a smaller than normal head. Recent report from Brazil suggests increased incidents of babies born with microcephaly from infected mother.
Fact 8: Mode of Transmission
  • Primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito (A. aegypti and A. albopictus)
  • Mother to child: A mother already infected with Zika virus near the time of delivery can pass on the virus to her newborn around the time of birth.
  • Zika virus can be spread by a man to his sex partners.

      The virus can survive in semen longer than in blood.
Fact 9: “Still largely unknown”
  •  The mechanism of viral infection yet to be discovered.
Fact 10: Global incidence of Zika?
  •  Many scientists suggest global warming as a reason for transmission of virus to low temperature countries. Rise in temperature favors the survival of mosquitoes, the vector of Zika virus.


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