The Truth About Zika: Zika Virus Facts

Once again, small mosquitoes put the world in red alert. New infections multiply around the world, and added precaution is necessary before traveling abroad. The ongoing epidemic in the Americas and Pacific region has caused Zika to be labelled a Public Health Emergency of International Concern by the World Health Organization. Although the symptoms of the resulting disease are usually mild and short, virus infection poses a major threat to the babies of pregnant woman. There is still no vaccine or treatment for Zika virus infection, so prevention is key to minimize the spread and the risk to public health.


The virus was isolated for the first time in 1947 in the Zika forest, Uganda (from which it took its name). Five years later, it was detected in humans in Tanzania and Uganda. By 2007, there were only small outbreaks recorded in Southeast Asia and Africa. In 2013, the virus arrived in France. The first serious cases in the Pacific Islands and South America occurred in 2015. Concerns about the threat of a worldwide Zika pandemic increased during the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Shortly after the event, multiple infections have been reported in several other countries.

Zika is a virus belonging to the Flaviviridae family. Its main vectors, i.e., the mosquitoes that transmit the virus, belong to the Aedes genus. Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, for example, are also vectors of dengue and yellow fever. The virus has an incubation period of a few days, and the resulting fever may resemble a cold.

How Is The Zikka Virus Transmitted?

Zika virus is transmitted to humans mainly by mosquito bite. A small number of sexual transmissions have been confirmed in the United Sates. Infected mothers may pass the virus to babies through perinatal transmission. There ...

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