How dangerous is the zika virus?
It seems to be a harmless virus Zika, discovered in the middle of the last century in Africa, in fact was not so harmless. Actively spreading around the planet, it has already reached European countries, and the World Health Organization (WHO) was forced to declare a pandemic of Zika fever. What is the danger of this disease and whether it is possible to avoid infection with them, we will tell in our article.
Zika virus: history of appearance
Zika virus got its name in honor of the forest in Uganda, where it was first discovered. It happened in 1947. Then, researchers studying the yellow fever, revealed a new infection in the blood of monkeys and gave it the name of the forest in whose territory the animals lived.
At that time, the virus was not particularly dangerous, although scientists found that a person could become infected. Zika fever was mild, manifested by fever, headache, rash, and took place over two weeks.The carriers of the virus were mosquitoes of the genus Aedes, the bite of which was sufficient for infection.
Since the virus did not pose a particular threat, and at the time of its detection only a few cases of the disease were noted, the scientists did not bother to synthesize the corresponding vaccine. However, in 2007, the disease reached a new level, acquiring the scale of a pandemic.
In the world, the number of infected has increased dramatically. Zika fever spread across almost all of Africa, reached India, Thailand, the Philippines and Malaysia, and in 2015 the epidemic spread to Latin America. Isolated cases of the disease were recorded in European countries: Denmark, Italy, Switzerland.
Zika virus in Russiawhile it was recorded only in one case: a woman, in whose blood it was found, acquired an infection during a trip to the Dominican Republic. In Ukraine, the cases of this disease as of March 2016 are not registered.
According to statistics for February 2016, Brazil occupied the first place in the world in the number of people infected with the virus (about 1.5 million cases), Colombia ranked second (over 25 thousand infected), and the third was Salvador (7 thousand infected) .
What is dangerous Zika virus?
It is noteworthy that in recent times, physicians have begun to fix the heavy course of fever, which sometimes even ends in death. However, scientists are no longer worried about this, but the following effects of the Zika virus:
- the occurrence of Guillain-Barre syndrome. As a result of this disease, peripheral nerves are affected, sensitivity is disturbed, and in the absence of proper treatment, paralysis occurs;
- microcephaly in children. The virus can be transmitted to the fetus through the placenta from a pregnant woman. As a result, babies are born with an underdeveloped skull and brain, and they experience mental retardation.
In Brazil, the number of children born with microcephaly to women infected with Zika virus has exceeded 5,000. Therefore, pregnant women are strongly advised not to travel to countries with a surge in the disease.
Read more about the danger of a pandemic in the video:
How is Zika virus transmitted?
Until 2007zika virusrarely hit a person, but as a result of mutations, his nature and aggressiveness have changed significantly. Carriers of the virus, as we have already written, are mosquitoes. In addition to their bite, you can get:
- sexually.This became known after the incident with the scientist Brian Fall, who studied the disease in Senegal, was infected as a result of a mosquito bite and infected his wife during intercourse;
- through the placenta - this method of transmission, we have already mentioned above;
- oral-fecal. The virus has a shell that is resistant to the effects of the external environment, therefore, being outside the human body, it remains viable for a long time.
Symptoms of the disease
The incubation period of the disease lasts from 3 to 10 days. Most often, Zika fever is mild and goes away within 14-15 days.
Symptoms of zika virus:
- slight headache;
- increase in body temperature to 39-40 ° C, which lasts for 3-7 days;
- itching and rash that appears first on the face and neck, and then spreads all over the skin. During the week it passes, leaving no traces;
- joint pain, swelling may be observed;
Zika virus - photo rash:
The patient may experience general malaise, enlarged lymph nodes, hemorrhages on the skin. There are cases of asymptomatic disease progression.By the way, due to poor knowledge, it is not yet known to medicine whether a person develops immunity after a fever.
How is Zika fever diagnosed?
Diagnosticszika feveris to:
- examination and collection of anamnesis. The doctor will find out if the patient has had contact with infected persons, has not visited the country where the epidemic is marked;
- polymerase chain reaction test. It allows you to identify the disease in the first three days of its course;
- tests for the presence of similar diseases so that they can be excluded.
Symptoms of Zika virus are similar to signs of yellow fever, malaria, dengue fever.
Treatment of the disease
There are currently no special drugs for Zika fever. The vaccine is under development, but for the time being, doctors are using exclusively anti-symptom therapy. To relieve itching, prescribe antihistamines, and for fever use antipyretic drugs. The effectiveness of antibiotics in the fight against Zika virus has not been proven, therefore, their use is impractical.
Usually, doctors advise to limit physical activity and drink more water to avoid intoxication of the body.
How to protect yourself from Zika fever?
The best protection against virus infection will be the refusal of a trip to countries where cases of its spread are recorded. If, however, it is impossible to avoid visiting the habitats of mosquito-carriers of the virus, follow our advice:
- dress in light, preferring clothing that leaves few open skin;
- use repellents, and be sure to follow the instructions, otherwise their effectiveness will be low;
- use mosquito nets indoors;
- Try to choose a hotel (place of residence) away from water bodies, since this is where the largest accumulation of bloodsucking is observed.
We hope our recommendations will help you to avoid this deceptively dangerous disease.