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Its So Dangerous, ZIKA VIRUS

Zika virus is related to dengue, yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis, and West Nile viruses. The illness it causes is similar to a mild form of dengue fever, is treated by rest, and cannot yet be prevented by drugs or vaccines. There is a possible link between Zika fever and microcephaly in newborn babies by mother-to-child transmission, as well as a stronger one with neurologic conditions in infected adults, including cases of the Guillain–BarrĂ© syndrome.

Along with other viruses in this family, Zika virus is enveloped and icosahedral and has a nonsegmented, single-stranded, positive-sense RNA genome. It is most closely related to the Spondweni virus and is one of the two viruses in the Spondweni virus clade.

Zika virus is transmitted by daytime-active mosquitoes and has been isolated from a number of species in the genus Aedes, such as A. aegypti, and arboreal mosquitoes such as A. africanus, A. apicoargenteus, A. furcifer, A. hensilli, A. luteocephalus, and A. vitattus. 

Studies show that the extrinsic incubation period in mosquitoes is about 10 days. Zika virus can migrate between humans through sexual contact and it can also cross the placenta, affecting an unborn fetus. 
A mother already infected with Zika virus near the time of delivery can pass on the virus to her newborn around the time of birth, but this is rare. 

Expected Questions

1. What is the Zika virus?
2. How is the virus spread?  
3. How might Zika cause brain damage in infants? 
4. What is microcephaly?  
5. What countries should pregnant women avoid? 
6. How do We know if infected? Is there a test?
7. Is there a treatment? 
8. Is there a vaccine? How should people protect themselves? 


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