BEACON TRANSCRIPT – The tropical and rare Zika disease was confirmed in South and Central America and may be causing a damaging consequence to pregnant women. The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), which is a branch of World Health Organization (WHO), has confirmed the spreading of the disease across numerous countries.
Although commonly found in Africa, Asia, and the south Pacific, it has recently started spreading to South America. This includes Mexico, Guatemala, Venezuela, El Salvador, Paraguay, Panama, Suriname, and Brazil. In fact, according the latter’s Ministry of Health, Zika has claimed the lives of three people already, an elderly man with lupus, a healthy 16 year old, and a newborn diagnosed with microcephaly.
This may mean that the tropical disease is indeed deadly. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) only 1 in 5 people who get infected with the Zika virus actually get ill. It causes fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes. Or, in the more grave cases, they also include headaches, pain behind the eyes, and vomiting.
However, it doesn’t also present with symptoms and it’s tough to diagnose as it often gets confused with other mosquito borne diseases, such as dengue fever or yellow fever. Like the two deadly infections, Zika is spread by the Aedes mosquito, which is commonly found in tropical regions. It’s only spread through bite, and cannot be transferred from human to human, fortunately.
It also seems that animals are immune to the disease.
Given the fact that it spreads through the Aedes mosquito, it means that several regions are now at risk of Zika infections. It may affect both Central and South America, with possible visits to Hawaii, south Texas, or south Florida. Each of these areas may see to appearances from the disease-riddled mosquitoes.
The population should be wary, and take precautions to avoid mosquito bites.
Even more, PAHO suggested that infection with the Zika virus may led to microcephaly in newborns if their mothers are bitten while pregnant. Microcephaly means that the child’s head and brain are undersized. This birth defect has no cure.
It was only in the recent years that Brazil has seen to diagnoses of Zika and double the amount of micrcocephaly cases. As of November this year, the nation recorded over 1,200 cases of the birth defect, which included 7 of the infants dying. It may just be a coincidence that both conditions are on the rise at the same time.
However, PAHO will further investigate and search the potential link between Zika and microcephaly, or lack thereof.
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