There’s been a recent outbreak of the Zika virus in South America that started back in Oct. 2015 and it has continued to spread from there. About 4,000 babies were born with microcephaly, which is a side effect of the virus, in Brazil. So, what is Zika and where did it come from?
According to The Conversation,the Zika virus first came from the Zika forest in Uganda in a rhesus monkey in 1947, and then again in the Aedes Africanus mosquito in 1948. Zika didn’t affect humans until 2007 when there was an outbreak in the Yap Islands of Micronesia.
Some possible ways that the virus came to the Americas could be from the 2014 FIFA World Cup that took place in Brazil, an international canoe event in Rio de Janeiro in August of 2014, or from a returning traveler who went to Chile from Easter Island. All of them include people who came to America from the Pacific Islands.
Because of Zika, many children are being born with microcephaly. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) says that microcephaly is a condition where the child is born with a smaller head. “Microcephaly can occur because a baby’s brain has not developed properly during pregnancy or has stopped growing after birth, which results in a smaller head size.”
The Conversation mentions that most patients do not know they have the virus; they don’t get any symptoms. Those who do, however, will get a fever, rash, joint pains, red eyes, headache, and muscle pain that lasts for about a week.
Some Zika outbreaks are associated with Guillain-Barre’s Syndrome, which NIH (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Strokes) says is, “a disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks part of the peripheral nervous system.”
It is suggested that women in South America delay getting pregnant and pregnant women do not travel there. Hopefully people will be careful and cautious.