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Zika Virus Spreads Worries About Infection

by Brian Thebau

2016 has had a rocky start. Along with the deaths of beloved celebrities such as Alan

Rickman and David Bowie, viruses such as the Zika virus has come to light.

The Zika virus spreads through contact with mosquitoes, specifically the Aedes Aegypti and Aedes Albopictus species. When a mosquito bites an infected individual, it carries the blood with it. If the mosquito is a female, it can lay eggs and produce offspring infected with Zika.

It can also be spread from mother to child if the mother has the Zika virus. According to, the Center for Disease Control, “if the mother is infected near the time of delivery than the child can become infected as well. However, this is a rare occurrence.” (http://www.cdc.gov/zika/transmission/index.html)

The symptoms of Zika, so far, are mild and range from a rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis, which is a process that makes your eyes become red. Other reported symptoms are muscle pains and headaches.

According to the CDC, Zika has been reported in both the United States and in several South American countries, such as Brazil, Colombia, Haiti, Honduras and Jamaica. All of the cases located in the United States have been travel related cases, while others were locally reported. These only count for the American territories, though. (http://www.cdc.gov/zika/geo/index.html)

There is currently no vaccine for Zika, but there are some preventative measures that you can do in order to keep yourself healthy.

According to the World Health Organization, travelers should be “wearing clothes (preferably light-coloured) that cover as much of the body as possible; using physical barriers such as screens, closed doors and windows; and sleeping under mosquito nets.”

(http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/zika/en/)

If you are thinking, “Oh, Zika does not sound too bad, why is everyone freaking out over it?” Well, that is because of the potential complications that could come from the virus spreading to various countries.

According to the WHO, Zika has allegedly caused an increase in Guillain-Barré Syndrome, which is a disorder that uses the body’s immune system to attack parts of the peripheral nervous system. What that means is that certain parts of the body will slowly start to seize up and stop being able to function until the entire body is paralyzed. (http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/gbs/detail_gbs.htm) (http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/zika/en/)
Hopefully, with further study, a vaccine will be created and we will be able to avoid any unfortunate outcomes caused by Zika.