The World Health Organization recently warned in a statement that the Zika virus may spread throughout the Americas.
The infection caused due to the Zika virus results in mild fever, headache and conjunctivitis. These symptoms have already been found in more than 20 countries of the Caribbean and the Americas confirming the fear that the infection may have spread on a large-scale. The Zika virus is responsible for thousands of babies who have been born without properly developed brains. In some countries authorities have warned women not to get pregnant.
The Zika virus was discovered for the first time in 1947. It was present in monkeys of Africa. Since then, there have been short outbreaks of the virus within the human population of the continent. Moreover, infections have also been detected in the Pacific Islands and parts of Asia.
Presently, Zika virus has spread massively in the Americas. The first infection was detected in Brazil in May 2015. The reason for such massive spread of Zika virus is thought to be the presence of large mosquitoes who carry it, and the lack of natural defense against the infection.
Zika virus is spread through the bite of Aedes mosquitoes found in all the countries of South America except Chile. These mosquitos are also found in North America. However, in Canada they have not yet been detected.
The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) revealed in a recent statement that the organization thinks that Zika virus will keep spreading and will most probably reach all the areas where Aedes mosquitoes are present.
PAHO is a regional office of the World Health Organization. It is advising people to protect themselves against mosquito bites. These mosquitos are also responsible for spreading dengue fever as well as chikungunya.
It has also been stated that the Zika virus is also transmitted through the semen. At least in one known case, it was spread from one person to another through sexual intercourse. However, more evidence is needed in order to fully confirm this theory. Most of the infection does not show any symptoms.
The biggest concern regarding the Zika virus is its impact in the babies inside the wombs of their mothers. There have been several reports in which babies are born with brains that are less than usual in size. One such case has also been reported in Brazil.
PAHO has issued warnings to all women to become more careful about their health. They are further advised to consult medical practitioners before they visit places that may have been affected by the Zika virus.