Following the announcement made by The World Trade Organisation (WHO) declaring Zika as a “public health emergency of international concern”. Scientist have now worked out the structure of the Zika virus which will aid the development of vaccinations and anti viral treatment to help combat infections.
If you are unfamiliar with the Zika pandemic, here is what you need to know.
What is the Zika Virus? The Zika virus is an emerging mosquito-borne virus that was first identified in Uganda in 1947 in rhesus monkeys.
Why is it dangerous? Although not yet proven by scientists, it is strongly suspected that the virus is linked to cases of Microcephaly in babies, a condition in which babies are born with an abnormally small head and potential neurological damage caused by under development of the Brain. Therefore, the virus is particularly harmful for pregnant women. Zika has also been linked to Guillain-Barré syndrome, a neurological condition that can causes temporary paralysis in Adults.
Where did the reemergence of the virus begin? It was reported in May 2015 in Brazil and has since spread rapidly to 33 other countries in the Americas e.g. Columbia, Peru, Mexico, Honduras, Barbados & Texas state.
Is there a cure? There is currently no treatment or vaccination for the Zika virus, which is why this news from scientist brings a glimpse of a light at the end of the tunnel.
What about the Olympics? As most of us know the 2016 Olympics are set to take place in Brazil, Rio de Janeiro. But as Brazil has the highest reported cases of the Zika virus and Microcephaly, how are they going to protect the thousands of people travelling for the games. Well, The International Olympic Committee promises that Olympic venues will be inspected daily in the lead-up to and during this summer’s Games. It will ensure puddles of stagnant water, where mosquitoes breed, are removed to minimise the risk of athletes and visitors coming into contact with the insects. They are also hoping there will be fewer mosquitoes in August as the month is both cooler and drier.
Will the virus spread to the UK? Zika does not naturally occur in the UK, however people travelling to affected areas are at risk of catching the disease. So to all you keen travelers making plans for the summer, be sure to take all necessary health precautions and keep this information in mind when choosing your next holiday destination.
Written By Toro Kehinde
Twitter & Insta: Toro_ox