Zika virus

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Zika virus
Zika EM CDC 280116.tiff
Electron micrograph of Zika virus. Virus particles are 40 nm in diameter, with an outer envelope and a dense inner core (source: CDC).
Virus classification
Group:
Group IV ((+)ssRNA)
Family:
Genus:
Species:
Zika virus
Simple video explanation of Zika virus

Zika virus (ZIKV) belongs to the virus family Flaviviridae and the genus Flavivirus. It is spread by mosquitoes from the genus Aedes, which are active during the daytime.

Zika virus is named after Uganda's Zika Forest, where the virus was discovered in 1947.[1]

Zika virus can cause an infectious disease called Zika fever. Zika fever often causes no symptoms, or only mild symptoms. Scientists know that people in Africa and Asia have been getting Zika fever since the 1950s. In 2014, the virus spread eastward across the Pacific Ocean - first to French Polynesia, then to Easter Island. Finally, in 2015, it spread to Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, and South America. In these places, Zika virus has become a pandemic.[2]

Background[change | change source]

Zika virus is related to West Nile virus and the the viruses that cause dengue fever, yellow fever, and Japanese encephalitis.[3] Zika virus causes an illness that is like a mild form of dengue fever.[3] It is treated by rest.[4] As of 2016, there is no medication or vaccine that can prevent the Zika virus.[4]

Pregnant women who get the Zika virus can spread the virus to their fetuses. When they are born, these newborns may be more likely to have microcephaly.[5][6][7] In places where the Zika virus lives, people are more likely to have birth defects, neurological problems like Guillain-Barré syndrome, and autoimmune diseases.[8]

2016 outbreak[change | change source]

In January 2016, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published advice for how to avoid getting Zika fever. They suggested that when traveling to places where Zika virus lives:[9][10]

  • Travelers should use "enhanced precautions," meaning they should be as careful as possible to avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes
  • Pregnant women should think about not traveling to these areas

Other governments or health agencies soon issued similar travel warnings.[11][12] Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, and Jamaica advised women not to get pregnant until scientists know more about the risks of Zika virus to pregnant women.[13]

On February 2, 2016, public health officials in Dallas County, Texas, reported the first case of somebody getting Zika virus in the United States.[14][15]

References[change | change source]

  1. "ATCC Product Sheet Zika virus (ATCC® VR 84TM) Original Source: Blood from experimental forest sentinel rhesus monkey, Uganda, 1947". Retrieved 4 February 2016.
  2. McKenna, Maryn (13 January 2016). "Zika Virus: A New Threat and a New Kind of Pandemic". Germination. Retrieved 18 January 2016.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Zika virus infection". ecdc.europa.eu. Retrieved 18 January 2016.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Symptoms, Diagnosis, & Treatment". Zika Virus. DVBD, NCEZID, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  5. Leonardo Aguiar. "Ministério da Saúde confirma relação entre vírus Zika e microcefalia". Portal da Saúde – Ministério da Saúde – www.saude.gov.br.
  6. Oliveira Melo, A. S.; Malinger, G.; Ximenes, R.; Szejnfeld, P. O.; Alves Sampaio, S.; Bispo de Filippis, A. M. (1 January 2016). "Zika virus intrauterine infection causes fetal brain abnormality and microcephaly: tip of the iceberg?". Ultrasound in Obstetrics & Gynecology 47 (1): 6–7. doi:10.1002/uog.15831. ISSN 1469-0705. 
  7. "Epidemiological update: Outbreaks of Zika virus and complications potentially linked to the Zika virus infection". European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Retrieved 18 January 2016.
  8. "17 January 2016: Neurological syndrome, congenital malformations, and Zika virus infection – Epidemiological Update". Pan American Health Organization. 17 January 2016.
  9. "Zika Virus in the Caribbean". Travelers' Health: Travel Notices. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 15 January 2016.
  10. Petersen, Emily E.; Staples, J. Erin; Meaney-Delman, Dana; Fischer, Marc; Ellington, Sascha R.; Callaghan, William M.; Jamieson, Denise J. (2016). "Interim Guidelines for Pregnant Women During a Zika Virus Outbreak – United States, 2016". Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 65 (2): 30–33. doi:10.15585/mmwr.mm6502e1. PMID 26796813. https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/65/wr/mm6502e1.htm. 
  11. "Zika virus: Advice for those planning to travel to outbreak areas". ITV News. 22 January 2016. Retrieved 24 January 2016.
  12. "Pregnant Irish women warned over Zika virus in central and South America". RTE. 22 January 2016. Retrieved 23 January 2016.
  13. "Zika virus triggers pregnancy delay calls". BBC. 23 January 2016. Retrieved 23 January 2016.
  14. "Zika Virus Confirmed in Dallas County, Spread Through Sexual Contact: Dallas County Health". NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth.
  15. "DCHHS Reports First Zika Virus Case in Dallas County Acquired Through Sexual Transmission" (PDF). Dallas County Health and Human Services. February 2, 2016. Retrieved 2016-02-04.

Other websites[change | change source]