Zika virus: Know all about the mosquito borne disease that causes birth defect

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Washington, Jan 27: Mosquito-borne Zika virus has begun cropping up in the US as Florida and Illinois, for the first time, have respectively recorded three and two cases of the disease which has caused birth defects in Latin America.

Brazil is also battling to contain an outbreak of the Zika virus which has been linked with birth defects and paralysis-causing Guillain-Barre syndrome.

Zika virus explained

Here are facts you need to know about the Zika virus

  • Zika is a disease caused by the zika virus through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito that transmits dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever. The disease can also be transmitted from pregnant mother to baby during pregnancy or around the time of birth.
  • Mosquitoes that spread Zika virus bite mostly during the daytime.
  • The most common symptom of the disease are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). Muscle pain and headache are other common symptoms.The symptoms usually start 2 to 7 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito.
  • Pregnant women are prone to zika virus diseas. In view of their vulnerability to the disease, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), telling women to avoid becoming pregnant, in some cases for up to two years. 
  • Before 2015, Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands faced Zika virus outbreaks.
  • The best way to prevent yourself from this mosquito borne disease is to avoid being bitten. Deaths are rare due to Zika.
  • Vaccine or specific medicine is yet to be found to treat Zika virus infections.
  • Zika virus disease leads to serious birth defect called microcephaly, a neurological disorder. It results in babies being born with abnormally small heads. It also has adverse effect on baby's development and sometimes also causes death.
  • Zika virus outbreak was earlier reported in tropical Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands.
  • According to CDC, the Zika virus is now being locally transmitted in Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Cape Verde, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Saint Martin, Suriname, Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Venezuela.

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