What is Zika?

Quck answer

Zika is a viral infection primarily transmitted through the bite of infected mosquitoes. It can also be transmitted through sexual contact, blood transfusions, and from mother to fetus during pregnancy. Symptoms of Zika include fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes. While most people experience mild symptoms or none at all, Zika infection during pregnancy can cause severe birth defects, including microcephaly. There is currently no specific treatment for Zika, so prevention is key. This includes using insect repellent, wearing protective clothing, and practicing safe sex. It is important to stay informed about Zika if traveling to affected areas.

What are your favorite aspects of summer? Some children love staying up late playing outside, taking advantage of the extended daylight hours. Others eagerly anticipate summer treats like watermelon and ice-cold lemonade. Those who enjoy swimming eagerly await the warm summer days to take a dip in their favorite pool, lake, river, or ocean.

Despite all the things to love about summer, are there any downsides? Applying oily sunscreen constantly can become tiresome, but it is necessary to protect your skin. Other children may note that warm weather also brings outdoor hazards, such as poison ivy and insects.

During the summer, there is probably one insect you try to avoid: mosquitoes! Nobody enjoys getting bitten by these bloodsucking, flying pests. Their bites can be painful and itchy. However, did you know that mosquito bites can also be quite dangerous?

Since mosquitoes draw blood from the people they bite, it is easy for them to transmit diseases from one person to another. For instance, in certain parts of the world, deadly outbreaks of diseases like malaria occur when mosquitoes spread the disease among the population.

Lately, you may have heard news reports about outbreaks of another mosquito-borne virus called the Zika virus. Should you be concerned about Zika? Let’s find out more about this virus that is currently being transmitted by mosquitoes in specific regions of the world.

The Zika virus was initially discovered in Uganda in 1947. Scientists believe that Zika remained limited to Africa until around 2007, when they suspect it spread to the South Pacific. Over the past decade, the Zika virus has expanded to many other areas, including Asia, South America, Central America, the Caribbean, Mexico, and even isolated regions in the United States (Florida and Texas).

The Zika virus is primarily transmitted by two specific types of mosquitoes: Aedes aegypti or Aedes albopictus. These mosquitoes tend to inhabit areas with mild, tropical climates, which explains why outbreaks have so far been limited to the aforementioned regions.

So what happens if you get bitten by a mosquito carrying the Zika virus? Perhaps nothing at all! Scientists believe that most people infected with the Zika virus do not show any symptoms. That is why many people are not even aware that they are infected.

Those who do experience symptoms of Zika infection typically have mild symptoms, including a rash, fever, joint and muscle pain, red eyes, and a headache. In very rare cases, a person infected with the Zika virus may develop Guillain-Barré syndrome, a neurological condition characterized by paralysis and extreme muscle weakness.

The greatest risk posed by the Zika virus is to pregnant women and women who may become pregnant. Zika has been found to cause miscarriages, stillborn babies, and serious birth defects.

One common birth defect closely associated with Zika is microcephaly. Microcephaly is a condition in which a baby’s brain and skull do not develop properly, resulting in severe health and developmental issues.

Unfortunately, there is currently no vaccine for the Zika virus. Women who are pregnant or may become pregnant are advised to avoid traveling to areas where there have been Zika outbreaks. In outbreak areas, individuals must take precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes that may carry Zika.

Government agencies may implement measures to decrease mosquito populations using insecticides. On an individual level, people are advised to utilize insect repellants and ensure that their skin is covered while outdoors.

Give It a Try

Are you prepared to expand your knowledge about global health hazards? Make sure to engage in the following activities with a friend or family member:

– Determine the regions where Zika is not a concern by consulting the Center for Disease Control’s World Map of Zika areas. Have you visited any of these locations? What precautions would you take if you wanted to travel to one of these areas?

– Despite Zika’s existence for a considerable period, it has received significant media coverage in recent years. Visit Scientific American’s website to read about the escalation of Zika. Jot down at least three intriguing facts from the article and share them with a friend or family member.

– Even if you are not in a Zika-infested region, it is always wise to avoid mosquito bites. At best, they can be bothersome and painful, but at worst, they can be hazardous. Familiarize yourself with methods to prevent mosquito bites online. Utilize these tips and tricks the next time you embark on an outdoor adventure!

Credible Sources

– http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/zika-virus.html

– http://www.cnn.com/2016/01/26/health/zika-what-you-need-to-know/

– https://newsela.com/articles/anti-zika-bee-death/id/21365/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *