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As individuals are set to go on vacation in the Caribbean countries, the world health organization (WHO) has issued a warning about Zika virus that has been reported to be spreading in some parts of Latin America and the Caribbean. People are being advised to take all the precautionary measures to avoid getting infected by Zika virus. In fact, WHO has declared the Zika virus as a worldwide health emergency.
Zika virus was discovered in 1947 in Zika Forest Uganda and is similar to West Nile virus and Dengue. Zika virus is transmitted by female mosquitoes and has not been a big threat until there was an outbreak in Brazil.
According to statistics, only one out of five people infected with Zika virus experiences any of its symptoms such as painful joints and fever. However, infants born by infected mothers have some serious defects of the brains. Other studies have also shown that there are some individuals who develop Guillain-Barré syndrome after being infected by Zika virus. Guillain-Barré syndrome is a condition that leads to the destruction of nerve cells of the immune system resulting in weak muscles and even paralyzed body.
Zika virus often causes microcephaly, a health condition that is characterized by small head size in newborn babies. The doctors claim that the small head comes as a result of an undeveloped brain which can make the baby intellectually challenged.
The bad news about this virus is that other than being transmitted by mosquitoes, it can also be transmitted sexually. In fact, studies have found out that the virus can survive in semen for about two months. This is a clear indication that a man can transmit the Zika virus to his sexual partner even about two months after recovering from the infection. This fact has made doctors strongly recommend people who are traveling to areas suspected to have Zika virus outbreak to use condoms.
Zika virus has been found out to have a higher health risk in pregnant women since it affects unborn infants more than other individuals. Therefore, women planning to travel to the Caribbean countries or other parts of the world suspected to have this virus are advised to avoid becoming pregnant. Since Zika is also transmitted by mosquitoes, individuals are advised to use mosquito repellents and nets to avoid mosquito bites to the extent feasible.
The doctors have also recommended that anyone who suspects to have been infected by Zika virus should visit a health center immediately. This will help to manage the virus before it spreads and become an epidemic.