Zika in Brazil
- The Zika virus is transmitted primarily by the the bite of an Aedes mosquito - this same species also carries Chikungunya, Dengue, Yellow Fever, and other potentially fatal diseases.
- The Aedes mosquito is a daytime biting mosquito.
- Common symptoms of the virus include mild fever, skin rash, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, and headaches.
- Symptoms normally last for between 2-7 days.
- In rare cases, Zika can also be sexually transmitted, or in very rare cases contracted via blood transfusions.
- Contraction of the Zika virus has been linked with Microcephaly and other servere brain defects in infants.
- The Zika virus can be passed from a pregnant women to her fetus during pregnancy or at delivery, however the likelihood of this happening, and the effects remain unknown.
- Microcephaly is a condition where a baby is born with a small head or a head which stops growing after birth.
- There remains much to learn with respect to Zika virus and its links with microcephaly and long-term effects.
- Zika is currently the fastest-spreading disease in Brazil with reported cases have doubling since December 2015. There is no vaccine for Zika, nor for Chikungunya or Dengue so it is essential to avoid all mosquito bites!
- Since May 2015 Brazil has experienced an increase in the number of babies born with microcephaly.