The Zika virus.
And yet another “plague” hits us again. As far as I can remember in my entire life, first it was the SARS virus, followed by the Bird Flu, H1N1, H5N1 viruses. It’s like mirroring the volatility of the stock markets the behaviors of these viruses!
Introducing our next big hit. The Zeeek Mosquito. That’s what I’m gonna call it and it’s kinda closely related to the Chikungunya(another species of naughty mosquitos). These Zeeks were first discovered in 1947 in the forests of Zika(hence the name), Uganda, now, don’t go asking me how it was first discovered because I have no idea how it became existent in our lives. And in 1952, the first human case of the virus was reported and the last taking place in the year 2007.
The virus re-emerged just last year in 2015 and since then, the Virus has been making quite a tour from Brazil, to the USA and even to as far as Vietnam. And shit yeah, we have to be prepared for its landfall here in Singapore.
How is it transmitted?
The Zika Virus was thought to be carried by infected AEDES mosquitoes. And in turn, when they infect humans, the latter gets infected with the virus.
Now at this point, the infected person may or may not know that he or she is infected with the virus, with symptoms only showing in a few days or a week. And when other mosquitoes feed on the infected human individual, the mosquitoes in return gets infected!! It’s a viscous cycle!
Other ways include having unprotected sex; where the risk of sexually transmitted diseases are always greater without the use of a condom; and blood transfusion, although there has been no confirmation of infections via blood transfusion, there has been suspected cases in Brazil that the virus was passed via this mode.
The last mode of transmission which has caught the world by storm is between mother and an unborn child or an infected woman who then conceives a child, and it has raised alarms from within the World Health Organization itself that the unborn child may suffer from birth defects.
Symptoms of it?
When one is infected with the Zika Virus, you should watch out for the following symptoms:-
- Joint Pains
- Conjunctivitis( Redness in the eyes)
It may sound mediocre but one should be really concerned of what I’m gonna say next. You won’t know what hit you until after a few days you get bitten. So you’ll be practically going about your daily routines until reality sets in! People don’t actually get sick enough to get seen by a Doctor.
The light in all these is that death is rare in this instances. And good news? Once you’re infected, and recover from it, you’re immune to it 🙂
How do I prevent it?
It’s quite simple actually. Try to refrain traveling to Zika affected areas like Brazil, some countries in South East Asia such as Thailand, South Korea and Vietnam and the United States.
If a companion, friend or family are suspected to have contracted the virus, educate them to lay low for a week or two. Not to the point of really burying yourself in the room, but just to make sure that the household is free of mosquitoes. You wouldn’t want to be infected them mosquitoes, do you now?
By far, we know that this virus is not readily transmissible via airborne, but it’s always good to take precautions:-
- Use a mask if you would like to
- Wash your hands regularly
- Always use protections when having sexual intercourse.
- If you are infected, DO NOT get bitten by another mosquito, as that will cause the infections to spread via that little bugger, who goes on biting other victims.
Treatment for it?
There is no treatment ready till today.
The only medications that the WHO propose to alleviate the symptoms are taking Acetaminophen or Paracetamol.
Fortunately there has been no reports of deaths attributed by the virus.
There has been however, anomalies in newborns, where Mircocephaly(defects of the brain) took place. Other anomalies include eye, hearing and growth impairments.