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Zika Virus: Causes and Treatment

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    Mosquito was a very popular horror film back in 1994 which was focused on a bite from a mosquito causing it to mutate into this enormous monster killing almost everyone in sight. Luckily, a Zika virus is way less intense than this film contradicted. The Zika virus is a flavivirus that is transmitted during sexual contact, pregnancy, transfer of blood, or organ transplantation. It’s constructed from a bite of the Aedes species mosquitoes. The reason I chose this disease was because I’ve heard the name of it many times on TV shows and I never really knew much about how the disease affected them and the basic background of it. Fortunately, it isn’t common and sort of rare to get. For US states, “10 Zika virus disease cases reported,” and for the US territories,” 39 Zika virus disease cases reported,” (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, October 3, 2019.) The usual age ranges from 10 months to 89 years old, but 80% of the victims are generally 20-59 years. This disease was first identified in Uganda by testing an ill monkey in 1947.

    Later in 1952, there have been cases reported in humans and a huge outbreak of the virus was filed in the Islands of Yap, 2007. The factors that increase the risk of developing the disease is living or traveling to an area where there have been reported outbreaks. The mosquito that causes the outbreaks travels worldwide so it’s always important to research the place you’re traveling to, and prevent yourself from getting a disease. Another factor that plays into this, is having unprotected sex. There are multiple reasons why having unprotected sex is unlucky and this is one of them. It can be transmitted during sexual contact, especially when either one of the partners have traveled to an area where there has been a Zika virus active. According to Mayo Clinic, “ If male sex partners or a couple that includes a male and female partner travel to an area with a Zika risk, the CDC suggests using condoms or avoiding sex for three months,”( Mayo Clinic Staff, December 21, 2018.) In the female’s case, if they have traveled to a place where there has been a outbreak, she would have to wait two months before having sex.

    The incubation period lasts about three to four days which is the time period of exposure to the first symptom occurring. 80% of the people who get the virus, don’t get symptoms so most of the time they don’t know if they have any virus. The symptoms normally are fevers, muscle and joint pains, malaise, conjunctivitis, rashes, appetite loss, nausea, and they have a hard time seeing. They will feel tired and have headaches while going through this time span. The main ways of getting this disease is to get a bite from the Aedes species mosquitoes, have sexual contact with an infected Zika virus victim, blood transfusions, organ donations, and having no prevention from mosquito bites. In order to get a diagnosis, there needs to be a history and physical exam done. A helpful tip to knowledge the doctor about, are the places you have traveled to just in case the virus was active there. They usually do blood tests and once they have the blood, they send it off to a speciality laboratory. That is done at the CDC with virus reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction tests or RT-PCR,” (Davis, 2016.) Identifying the infection could also use samples of your body fluids like semen and urine. Although there are no telltale signs, there are reports of mild fever, conjunctivitis, feeling of discomfort, rash, muscle pain, and a headache.

    It is known that there is no specific treatment to cure this virus but there are treatments to help relieve the symptoms like joint pain and fever. No vaccines exist as well to help treat this, but Mayo Clinic are testing treatments to find a definite cure. A list of things to do that will help soothe the symptoms is to get rest, stay hydrated, and take medicine like acetaminophen. The body eventually gets rid of the Zika virus in the system because the immune system is the one fighting back towards the bacteria. It’s important to talk to the health-care provider about taking other medicine first so that it doesn’t affect your treatment and somehow lead the disease to be further worse. Prevention is an important step to take in life, to free yourself from deadly diseases. One of the general steps to prevent the virus is to prevent yourself from mosquito bites. Firstly, wear long sleeves and pants so that they have less of an advantage to getting a free meal. Adding on, there’s such a thing called mosquito repellent which will draw them away or simply regular insect repellent. It’s key to protect the home you’re living in, especially if the outside area is known to have mosquitoes flying around.

    Mosquito nets tucked under the mattress help decrease the amount of insects coming to infect you by killing the mosquitoes as soon as they make physical contact with the net. Furthermore, it is essential to have a well air-conditioned room because the mosquito loves a humid atmosphere while your room is a place they would avoid. To further prevent the disease, use screens on your windows and doors so that they cannot enter making it impossible for them. Not only do you need to protect yourself from the bites but from people who are infected. Either wear a condom or a dental dam during sex and it will lower your chances. Lastly, don’t travel to places which have recently come out with a Zika virus outbreak which just increases the probability of you getting the infection.

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    Zika Virus: Causes and Treatment. (2021, Dec 18). Retrieved from

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