Zika Virus Rears Its Ugly Head During Pregnancy
While the year 2015 is quite significant in the modern timeline due to a myriad of international news and events, yet one of the most significant entries of the calendar is the outbreak of the Zika fever epidemic. Initially hitting the state of Brazil early 2015, this mosquito virus quickly took the form of an epidemic that engulfed the entirety of South America, North America, Central America, and the Caribbean. As the outbreak flared, it infected some 1.5 million people in Brazil alone, while about 3,500 cases of microscopically, suspected of being due to zika virus spread were reported during 2015 to 2016.
1. Zika Virus: An Overview
First discovered in the year 1947 in the Ziika Forest of Uganda, Zika virus is classified as a highly contagious disease that has a direct lineage to some of the most deadly viruses, such as the likes of dengue, yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis and West Nile viruses. This extremely potent virus represents no specific set of symptoms and usually mimics those of dengue. Some of the most prevalent zika symptoms include conjunctivitis, joint pain (particularly in hands and feet), low fever and a rash that progresses throughout the body. While there are preventive measures in place to combat the severity of the virus, yet a definitive vaccine for the same is still to enter the mainstream pharmaceutical markets.
2. Zika Transmission Vectors:
Since its detection in the late 1940s, Zika virus has ravaged a number of regions in the equatorial belt from Africa to Asia, while creating a epidemic in the American continent and establishing its presence in other parts of the world between 2015 to 2016. As with other known viruses, Zika is also considered to be highly contagious and can easily spread through a variety of vectors. Some of zika transmission are elaborated below:
Zika Mosquito Bites:
Just like dengue and chikungunya, Zika virus is primarily transmitted through the bite of a specific species of mosquitoes, Aedes. The virus is incubates in humid and water-logged locations, such as the likes of buckets, animal dies, bowls and flower ports. One the eggs are laid, the resulting breeding of the mosquito virus affect people both indoors and outdoors. Furthermore, mirroring a Hollywood Zombie movie transmission pattern, a mosquito can easily carry the infected blood of a Zika afflicted individual and can then spread the virus to other people through bites.
Zika Virus and Pregnancy:
This is where Zika virus is the most dangerous, as an infected pregnant woman can transfer the virus to the fetus. This transference can lead to a variety of brain defects for the fetus, namely microcephaly etc. As per new research, scientists have now determined that the effects of Zika virus on a fetus is at its worst during the first trimester. The reason behind the virus’s enhanced threat to the fetus is that during pregnancy, the virus is able to manipulate the mother’s immune system that enables easy access for Zika to the fetus. The manipulation process entails the tricking of immune system by the virus into believing that the host body is recuperating from the Zika virus. This in turn leads to the lowering of defenses of the immune system and makes the expectant mother open for the full fury of the virus. The virus, due to this duplicity then rapidly replicates itself in the placenta of pregnant women and in the brain of fetuses.
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