Zika Virus

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AbledAlert Post banner shows a photo of a pregnant woman in the tropics holding her belly. A graphical image is in the foreground that shows a pregnant woman in silhouette, a mosquito , and a medical symbol while text in the foreground reads: Zika Virus Level 2 Travel Alert for Pregnant Women issued for Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Suriname, Venezuela, Puerto Rico. Headline reads: Outbreak: Zika Virus: Birth Defect Link | 'Spreading Explosively'.

What Is ZIKA VIRUS?

Zika virus is a relative of dengueyellow feverJapanese encephalitis, and West Nile viruses.

It was first isolated in 1947 from a caged rhesus macaque monkey that had been placed in Uganda’s Zika Forest as part of Yellow Fever research.

Zika virus was first isolated from humans in 1968 in Nigeria.

Today, there are two ‘lineages’ of Zika virus that come from Africa and Asia, resulting from evidence of human infection between 1951 through 1981 from the Central African Republic, Egypt, Gabon, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, and Uganda, as well as in parts of Asia including India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.

 In 2014, the virus spread eastward across the Pacific Ocean to French Polynesia, then to Easter Island and in 2015 to Central America, the Caribbean, and South America, where the Zika outbreak has reached pandemic levels.

Phylogenetic studies indicate that the virus spreading in the Americas is most closely related to French Polynesian strains.

In January 2016 the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued travel guidance on affected countries, including the use of enhanced precautions, and guidelines for pregnant women including considering postponing travel.

Sources: CDC | Wikipedia

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How Does It Spread?

Zika virus is spread by several types of mosquitoes that are active during daytime hours. The most ‘notorious’ of these is the Aedes aegypti mosquito which also transmits Chikungunya, Yellow Fever and Dengue, and which has spread in an unprecedented way through global trade (in shipping containers) and travel.

The incubation time is about 10 days.

Zika virus then migrates between humans through sexual contact, where, in pregnant women,  it penetrates the placenta, and assaults the unborn fetus.

In 2009 Brian Foy, a biologist from Colorado State Universitysexually transmitted Zika virus to his wife. He visited Senegal to study mosquitoes and was bitten on a number of occasions. A few days after returning to the United States, he fell ill with Zika, but not before having had unprotected intercourse with his wife. She subsequently showed symptoms of Zika infection with extreme sensitivity to light. Foy is the first person known to have passed on an insect-borne virus to another human by sexual contact.

In 2015 Zika virus RNA was detected in the amniotic fluid of two fetuses, indicating that it had crossed the placenta and could cause a mother-to-child infection.

On 20 January 2016, scientists from the state of Paraná, Brazil, detected genetic material of Zika virus in the placenta of a woman who had undergone an abortion due to the fetus’s microcephaly, which confirmed that the virus is able to pass the placenta.

(Sources: CDC |WHO | Wikipedia)

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What Are The Symptoms?

The illness Zika virus causes is similar to a mild form of dengue fever, is treated by rest, and cannot yet be prevented by drugs or vaccines.

Zika virus usually causes mild illness; with symptoms appearing a few days after a person is bitten by an infected mosquito. Most people with Zika virus disease will get a slight fever and rash. Others may also get conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, and feel tired. The symptoms usually finish in 2 to 7 days.

Common symptoms of infection with the virus include mild headaches, maculopapular rash, fever, malaise, conjunctivitis, and joint pains. The first well-documented case of Zika virus was described in 1964; it began with a mild headache, and progressed to a maculopapular rash, fever, and back pain. Within two days, the rash started fading, and within three days, the fever resolved and only the rash remained. Thus far, Zika fever has been a relatively mild disease of limited scope, with only one in five persons developing symptoms, with no fatalities, but its true potential as a viral agent of disease is unknown.

 There is a possible link between Zika fever and microcephaly in newborn babies of infected mothers, as well as a stronger one with neurologic conditions in infected adults, including cases of the Guillain–Barré syndrome.

Microcephaly is a rare condition where a baby has an abnormally small head. This is due to abnormal brain development of the baby in the womb or during infancy. Babies and children with microcephaly often have challenges with their brain development as they grow older.

Microcephaly can be caused by a variety of environmental and genetic factors such as Downs syndrome; exposure to drugs, alcohol or other toxins in the womb; and rubella infection during pregnancy.

Guillain-Barré syndrome is a condition in which the body’s immune system attacks part of the nervous system. It can be caused by a number of viruses and can affect people of any age. Exactly what triggers the syndrome is not known. The main symptoms include muscular weakness and tingling in the arms and legs. Severe complications can occur if the respiratory muscles are affected, requiring hospitalisation. Most people affected by Guillain-Barré syndrome will recover, although some may continue to experience effects such as weakness.

In a French Polynesian epidemic, 73 cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome and other neurologic conditions occurred in a population of 270,000, which may be complications of Zika virus.

(Sources: CDC | WHO | Wikipedia)

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Treatment | Prevention

The symptoms of Zika virus disease can be treated with common pain and fever medicines, rest and plenty of water. If symptoms worsen, people should seek medical advice.

Treat the symptoms:

  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Drink fluids to prevent dehydration.
  • Take medicine such as acetaminophen to reduce fever and pain.
  • Do not take aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
  • If you are taking medicine for another medical condition, talk to your healthcare provider before taking additional medication.

Protect others[PDF – 1 page]: During the first week of infection, Zika virus can be found in the blood and passed from an infected person to another mosquito through mosquito bites. An infected mosquito can then spread the virus to other people. To help prevent others from getting sick, avoid mosquito bites during the first week of illness.

See your healthcare provider if you are pregnant and develop a fever, rash, joint pain, or red eyes within 2 weeks after traveling to a country where Zika virus cases have been reported. Be sure to tell your health care provider where you traveled.

There is currently no cure or vaccine for the disease itself.

Vaccines for yellow fever virusJapanese encephalitis and tick-borne encephalitis were introduced in the 1930s, while the vaccine for dengue feverhas just recently become available for use.

Work has already begun towards developing a vaccine for Zika virus according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).[34] The researchers at the NIAID Vaccine Research Center have extensive experience from working with vaccines for other viruses such as West Nile virus, chikungunya virus and dengue fever.[34]

The time required to develop an effective vaccine, get it certified and put it into production is long and complex. The first steps take place in the laboratory and include testing in animals. Following development of candidate vaccines, clinical trials, license application, approval and licensing are required.[35] Professor Nikos Vasilakis, of the Center for Biodefence and Emerging Infectious Diseases in Galveston,Texas, predicts that it could take 10–12 years before an effective Zika virus vaccine is available for use.

Work has already begun towards developing a vaccine for Zika virus according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). The researchers at the NIAID Vaccine Research Center have extensive experience from working with vaccines for other viruses such as West Nile virus, chikungunya virus and dengue fever.

The time required to develop an effective vaccine, get it certified and put it into production is long and complex. The first steps take place in the laboratory and include testing in animals.

Following development of candidate vaccines, clinical trials, license application, approval and licensing are required. Professor Nikos Vasilakis, of the Center for Biodefence and Emerging Infectious Diseases in Galveston,Texas, predicts that it could take 10–12 years before an effective Zika virus vaccine is available for use.

(Sources: CDC |WHO | Wikipedia)

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UPDATE: Zika Declared Global Health Emergency

For only the fourth time in its history, the Zika virus outbreak has forced the World Health Organization (WHO) to declare an international public health emergency. WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan, called it “an extraordinary event” and cited the outbreak pattern, lack of a vaccine and the large global spread of mosquitoes who carry the virus as factors behind the declaration.

The action, which will free up funds to combat the outbreak, came on the the heels of a warning from the government of Brazil advising pregnant women not to attend the 2016 Olympics in Rio, because of  the suspected link between Zika and microcephaly.

 

Growing Zika virus link to birth defect in 4,000 babies in Brazil

While the symptoms of Zika virus infection are usually mild, the greater alarm propelling the WHO’s action is linked to the sudden spike in the number of babies being born with abnormally small heads. The condition, called microcephaly, can result in mental retardation and other complications, even death, and health officials in Brazil say they’re finding growing evidence the Zika virus is the cause.

The country has reported about 4,000 cases of babies born with microcephaly since the Zika viral outbreak started there last May. That’s up from just under 150 cases in 2014.

Some adult Zika patients in Brazil have developed the, normally rare, autoimmune condition called Guillain-Barré syndrome that can result in paralysis.

 

Zika virus now in 23 countries | 4M people could be affected in 2016

Health officials have confirmed that a pregnant woman is one of three people in New York City who are infected with the Zika virus. All of the U.S. cases were contracted after visiting affected areas in the Caribbean or Latin America.

There is no vaccine for Zika virus, but researchers are exploring whether existing vaccines for mosquito-borne viruses might be modified and targeted at the Zika virus.

Poster from the Centers for Disease Control in the United States shows an illustration of a girl in bed who is wearing, has rosy cheeks and a thermometer in her mouth. There are several mosquitoes in the illustration. The text reads: Sick with Chikungunya, Dengue, or Zika? Protect yourself and others from mosquito bites during the first week of illness. Protect family and friends. During the first week of illness, chikungunya, dengue or pika virus can be found in the blood. A mosquito that bites you can become infected. An infected mosquito can bite a family member or neighbor and make them sick. Protect yourself from mosquito bites. Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants. Use door and window screens to keep mosquitoes outside. Use insect repellent. Watch for these symptoms: See your doctor if you develop a fever with any of the following symptoms: Muscle or joint pain; Headache, especially with pain behind the eyes; Rash; Conjunctivitis (red eyes).
CDC poster titled Protect Yourself From Mosquito bites -Mosquitoes spread Chikungunya, Dengue and Zika viruses. Under an illustration of the sun, the text reads: Mosquitoes that spread Chikungunya, Dengue and Zika are aggressive daytime biters. Under an illustration of a can of insect spray the text reads: Use insect repellent. Look for the following active ingredients: DEET; PICARIDIN; IR3535;OIL of LEMON EUCALYPTUS; PARA; METHANE; DIOL. Under an illustration of clothing, the text reads: Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants or use insect repellent. For extra protection, treat clothing with permethrin.
CDC Poster titled: Going to the American tropics? shows illustrations of mosquitoes, an arm being sprayed with insect repellent and a daytime/nightime Sun and moon icon. Text reads: Moquitoes spread Dengue, Chikungunya, Zika and other diseases. Mosquitoes bite day and night. Prevent mosquito bites: Use insect repellent; use air conditioning or window/door screens; Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants. Don't let mosquitoes ruin your trip. Click to go to the full-sized poster.
CDC poster titled Recently in the American tropics? Illustrations show a mosquito, a patient telling a doctor of their travel, a calendar and a human figure feeling pain and running a fever. The text reads: Mosquitoes spread Dengue, Chikungunya, Zika and other diseases. Watch for fever with muscle or eye pain or a rash in the next 2 weeks. If you get sick, see a doctor. Tell the doctor where you traveled. Click on the poster to see it full-size.

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Source: U.S. Centers for Disease Control

AbledAlert-Zika Virus Video Reports Banner
AbledAlert Banner reads: Tracking the global spread of Zika virus.
AbledAlert: Banner reads: Countries with local Zika virus transmission.
Map from the World Health Organization and the Pan American Health organization shows Countries with confirmed cases of local Zika Virus transmission as of January 30, 2015. These countries are, in alphabetical order: Barbados | Bolivia | Brazil | Colombia | Curaçao | Dominican Republic | Ecuador | El Salvador | French Guiana | Guadeloupe | Guatemala | Guyana | Haiti | Honduras | Martinique | Mexico | Nicaragua | Panama | Paraguay | Puerto Rico | Saint Martin | Suriname | US Virgin Islands | Venezuela. Click on the map to go the PAHO.org page.
AbledAlert banner reads: Zika virus infographic from PAHO/WHO.
Infographic from Pan American Health organization and the World health Organization is titled Zika virus, with an illustration of a mosquito at the top. As you scroll down, the text reads: What is Zika? Pika is a virus transmitted by the Aedes mosquito, which also transmits dengue and chikungunya. Pika can cause, as illustrated on a human figure, Mild fever, conjunctivitis, headache and joint pain, skin rash. Calendar icons illustrate that Onset is usually 2 to 7 days after the mosquito bite. Human figures illustrate that 1 in 4 people with Zika infection develops symptoms. A very small number of people can develop complications after becoming ill with the virus, Larger text reads: How is Zika infection prevented? To prevent mosquitos bites that transmit Zika: Illustrations accompany each section of text that reads: Cover skin with long-sleeve clothing , trousers and hats. Use insect repellent as recommended by health authorities. Sleep protected by mosquito nets. At least once a week, empty, clean, turnover. cover and/or dispose of containers that can hold water, such as tires, buckets and flower pots, both inside and outside of dwellings to eliminate mosquito breeding sites. Use screens or mosquito nets in windows and doors to reduce contact with mosquitoes. Controlling the breeding sites of Aedes mosquitoes reduces the likelihood of transmission of Zika, Chikungunya and Dengue. Scrolling further shows large text that reads: Is there a treatment? There is no vaccine or specific drug against this virus. Only pain and fever can be treated. Patients with symptoms of Zika infection should: (graphical icons accompany text) Get plenty of bed rest; drink plenty of liquids; take medicine to relieve fever and pain; use mosquito nets when napping; swear clothing that covers arms and legs. If symptoms worsen or complications develop, see a doctor immediately. Logos of the Pan American Health organization and World health Organization flank hostages such as #Zika, @FightAedes and #ZikaVirus. You can link to the Pahos.org page by clicking this graphic.
Infographic from Pan American Health organization and the World Health Organization is titled: How to prevent mosquito breeding sites in and around your home. The Aedes mosquito can transmit Dengue, Chikungunya and Zika. An illustration of a house is followed by other illustrations that match the text as you scroll down, which reads: 1. Make sure all tanks, water deposits and containers are covered and sealed to keep out mosquitoes. 2. Change the water and brush the insides of sinks and water barrels at least once a week. 3. pour out water from flower pots and planters and replace with damp sand. 4. Turn over containers that cannot be thrown away and protect them from rain. 5. Change the water in flower vases at least once a week, pouring the used water out over the ground. 6. Safely dispose of any unused containers and objects that can accumulate water and serve as breeding sites. 7. Keep swimming pools adequately treated with recommended products and frequency. 8. Change the water in pet bowls at least once a week. 9. Clean all drains and gutters. 10. Keep grass short and weed-free and keep your patio clean. No breeding sites, no mosquitoes, no Dengue, Chikungunya or Zika.
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