The international media outlets do campaigns to inform the public on new viral diseases that are a threat to human health.
They have informed the public in recent years about Bird Flu, Swine Flu, Ebola Virus, and Measles. Just recently has the Zika virus become more prevalent even though in the past 70 years it has been considered a low, moderate risk to human health. The World Health Organization (WHO) agreed that Zika is a national and public health concern. With the recent increase in cases all across the world we are in need of more information and research.
Zika is a endemic microorganism found in Asia and Africa and is related to the dengue virus. Zika is transmitted mainly through Aedes Aegypti mosquitos, but recent cases were found that it can be sexually transmitted. The mosquitos can actually become a carrier after biting someone already infected with the virus and spread it to other people.
Zika Virus was first found in 1947 in the jungles of Uganda. Monkeys were the first carriers and was first found in infected humans in 1954 in Nigeria when there were 3 people became ill. Symptoms are usually mild and can last 2-7 days of those people effected.
Only 1 in 5 people effected by the virus will actually show symptoms of the virus which include a mild fever, rash, headache, aches/pain in joints, and conjunctivitis. The virus will last in the blood of the effected for seven days. In rare cases does anyone die from being infected and does not require any hospital stay. Anyone can become a victim of the Zika Virus, but is most common in areas where the Aedes Aegypti mosquitos are found. Any individual traveling to countries where the virus is found and has not been previously infected can become a victim.
Mothers who are pregnant and are bit can transmit the virus to their fetus causing birth defects. Zika virus RNA has been identified in amniotic fluid of the pregnant mother and in brain tissue of those who went full term, but the babies died soon after. The virus causes microcephaly in the babies that causes their brain to not develop properly. There are certain parts of the body that have “immune privilege” that do not have inflammatory immune response. Areas such as eyes, testicles, placenta, and fetuses are vulnerable to viruses and disease. This is why everyone has to be extra careful because they may not know they are even a carrier and spread it to others.
Many people are unaware that they are effected and should use precautions to prevent the spread of the virus. The best way to protect yourself is to prevent mosquito bites. People should apply bug spray, wear long clothing, remove standing water around your home, and try to stay in well air conditioned spaces. Pregnant women should avoid sex or use condoms during their pregnancy. Per the CDC “to be effective, condoms should be used from start to finish, every time during vaginal, anal, and oral sex.” They should also avoid traveling to places that put them at risk for the virus. Zika can stay in semen for months after becoming effected so taking the correct precautions is imperative to protect yourself.
Johns Hopkins Carey Business School estimated the cost for Latin America and the Caribbean cost the the regions $7 to $18 billion dollars during 2015-2017. This number compares to $1billion dollars per 5% rise in those infected. The cost is fairly high because these regions are dealing with the microcephaly and Guillain-Barre syndrome. The medical costs for the life of the individual suffering from these medical conditions are over bearing for these low to middle class countries.
Brazil had activated their military to battle the virus from spreading anymore then it has. President Obama requested $1.8 billion to understand more about the virus , but the request was denied by the House Appropriations Committee.
When the Zika Virus enters the body it enters individual cells in order to replicate more viruses. Zika has certain proteins that interact with human cells that make cell entry possible and when they bind together they can fool the cells to accept the viral particle. Once inside the cell the RNA genome of Zika releases into the cytoplasm and the enzymes make a long protein. The infected proteins and RNA genome congregate to the surface of the endoplasmic reticulum.
New viral proteins will then sprout off into the inside of the ER taking a small bit of the ER membrane with them. The taken membrane will form the viral envelope and then travel through the Golgi apparatus before proceeding to the cell surface. The infected particles will then infect other cells, spreading the infection cycle.
Zika is not a new virus and has been around since 1954, but the epidemic has only recently started. More tests of the virus are still undergoing and is in need to prevent the spread of Zika. The major danger of the virus lies with pregnant women and their fetuses causing birth defects. In the long term a vaccine against the virus would be the most promising defense, but one is not available as of yet. People will just have to continue to protect themselves as much as possible and understand the effects of this devastating virus. There just so much more information we need to know for the battle against Zika.