Love is in the Air… and so is the Zika VIrus?
This Valentine’s Day, people around the world will swap chocolate, gifts, and saliva (ew, gross, but just being realistic). Along with the saliva switch, there’s a chance your partner could be giving you the Zika infection, carried by mosquitos in the Africas, Americas, Asia, and many other parts of the world.
The most common way to get this virus is through a direct bite with a mosquito commonly found near rivers or standing bodies of water, but in the 2016 outbreak, it has been recorded being spread through sexual transmission.
“There are so many risks that go along with sexual encounters, one more, like the Zika virus, just adds to the list of things that can go wrong,” said junior Dana Nardozzi.
The virus is most prominent in areas of the world that have become affected by Zika is in warm and wet tropical areas, such as Central America and Africa, where mosquito prevention is also lacking.
“Given the expansion of environments where mosquitoes can live and breed, facilitated by urbanisation and globalisation, there is potential for major urban epidemics of Zika virus disease to occur globally,” writes the World Health Organization.
On their website, they give easy access to symptom charts as well as ways of prevention for the Zika Virus.
The Zika virus is hardly detrimental to someone with a strong immune system; approximately, 24 hours after being bitten by an infected mosquito, some people will begin to feel symptoms, whereas others will be unaffected by this virus. The people that do have symptoms will feel a slight fever and rash, as well as muscle soreness, lethargy, and joint pain, making it difficult to move around. Symptoms will usually disappear after 2 to 7 days, and feel as if there is nothing more wrong with you than a bad cold.
So if the worse symptom of Zika virus is tired muscles and joints, what’s so bad about it? It seems like one of the better outcomes of a virus you’d get after being bitten by a mosquito… Well, it turns out that researchers are beginning to link birth defects with mothers and newborns to complications arising during a mosquito bite during pregnancy.
“In 2015, local health authorities in Brazil also observed an increase in babies born with microcephaly at the same time of an outbreak of Zika virus. Health authorities and agencies are now investigating the potential connection between microcephaly and Zika virus, in addition to other possible causes. However more investigation and research is needed before we will be able to better understand any possible link,” stated the World Health Organization.
Because not many outbreaks had been recorded prior to 2007’s attacks, little is really known about the detrimental effects Zika virus has on people and how it should be prevented and eventually treated. Until a cure is found, health organizations worldwide are advising possible candidates for the virus to remain careful of their whereabouts. Much advertisement for personal hygiene and public safety are being released during spring festivals occurring in the eastern hemisphere and along the tropics. Doctors are working hard around the clock to prevent the spread of this virus worldwide, and containing it to smaller and smaller groups until it can be eradicated from common illnesses. This season of love, be sure your partner is healthy before you give them that long waited smooch!