Zika Virus

By Annabella Civorelli

What is Zika?

It is a virus transmitted by mosquitoes of the Aedes genus. The most common symptoms of the disease are fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes. It also causes birth defects in children born while the mother was infected by the Zika virus. As of January 23, Brazil has reported 4,180 suspected cases of microcephaly since October.

Defects and Conditions

Children who are born while the mother was infected by the Zika Virus usually have severe birth defects. These defects are known as microcephaly. This is the condition where infants are born with undersized heads. There have also been cases of Guillain-Barré, a syndrome that can cause temporary paralysis, as well.

Symptoms

  • About 1 in 5 people infected with Zika virus become ill (develop Zika).

  • The most common symptoms of the Zika virus are fever, rash, joint pain, redness of the eyes, muscle pain and headache.

  • The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week.

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Zika is spread by mosquitoes and can also be sexually transmitted in rare cases.

Environmental Implications

Pros

  • Cures for symptoms: Getting plenty of rest, drinking fluids to prevent dehydration, and take medicines like Tylenol® to relieve fever and pain.

  • They spray to kill the host (mosquitoes) to prevent the spread of Zika.

Cons

  • There is no cure for specifically for Zika itself

  • There is no medication for the prevention of defects in infants

  • Killing all mosquitoes can affect the ecosystem and will leave predators without prey, and plants without pollinators.