Spread of Zika Virus causes Birth Deformity, Small Head Size
Zika is a resurgent virus transmitted by mosquitos and was discovered back in 1947 in the Rhesus Monkeys in Uganda. It was then discovered in humans in 1952 in Uganda itself and in New Tanzania.
Latin American countries are the first to witness the spread of Zika Virus with alarming rates. The World Health Organization (WHO) officials say that between 500, 000 and 1.5 million people were afflicted with the Virus in Brazil. Later on, the Virus spread to more than 20 countries in that region, this triggered health entities to issue ultimatums. They feared that the Virus may be behind the massive increase in the number of new born who suffered from small size heads, an illness that infects the nervous system of new born children of women who were infected with the Virus during pregnancy. This usually leads to different physical and mental disabilities.
The World Health Organization announced that birth defects related to the spread of Zika Virus became an “International Health State of Emergency.” And the priority should be given to protecting pregnant women from harming their own children and the control of the mosquito that is responsible for the transmission of the disease. This has led governments there to advice women to delay their pregnancy plans for this year, aiming to mitigate the percentage of the infected pregnant women. Other countries also issued ultimatums for their people warning pregnant women from travelling to infected areas including Brazil which will host the next Olympics.
Despite that, deaths as a result of Zika virus infection are rare and most infected cases don’t show any symptoms and consequently most infected people are not aware that they were infected by the disease. Among the symptoms that were observed are: moderate increase in temperature, red eyes, headache, arthritis, muscle aches and skin rash. Most of these symptoms fade away on their own within several days to a week.
Persons infected with Zika Virus should get lots of resting and lots of fluids. They also need common analgesics/antipyretics for the treatment of the pains and fever and if symptoms persist, they should seek medical advice. There is no vaccine for the disease at the current time.
It is worth mentioning that there were no cases of Zika virus infection reported in any Arabic country, although the mosquito which is responsible for the transmission of the virus is widespread in Egypt, Sudan and Somalia.
The disease, in most cases, spreads by a specific type of mosquito and in two cases only; the infection was transmitted from one person to another through sexual interaction. So, there is no real fear of normal mingling with infected patients and there is no need to quarantine them.
Prevention of the viral infection depends largely on minimizing the number of mosquitos by limiting their sources (removal of their breading places) along with limiting people’s exposure to them. Travelers should take preventive precautions to protect themselves from mosquito bites by wearing clothes that cover the entirety of the skin and the head, in addition to using mosquito nets during sleep. They must also use mosquito repellant that contains (DEET) regularly, every few hours and before leaving the hotel.