The Zika Virus – What is the danger?

Almost 4000 babies were born with Microcephaly since October, 2015 in Brazil. Although not confirmed yet, the birth defect is result of the Zika virus, transmitted by the mosquito Aedes Aegypti (the same responsible for Dengue virus). However, the World Health Organization is still advising pregnant women to be cautious in regions affected by the outbreak, since the Zika virus is both transmitted through the mosquito and also through semen.

Not only there are several cases of birth defects in the South American country, but the Zika virus has been associated with Guillain-Barré Syndrome. The symptons of Guillain-Barré varies from difficulty of moving the eyes and face to muscle weakness that can develop to a paralysis.

The problem does not end there. Next month, Brazil celebrates Carnival, and the risk of the festivities spreading the virus are enormous. Authorities have already advised women not to get pregnant in Brazil during the next year, but with the Carnival celebrations coming up, the situation is likely to aggravate the Zika virus outbreak.

Unfortunately, Carnival will not be the only event attracting tourists to Brazil in 2016. The country will also host the Olympics during the month of August, bringing athletes from all over the world, who once the games are done will return to their home countries.

The Brazilian government is currently trying to develop a vaccine, which is not likely to be completed in the next few years. The question lies then on the World Health Organization to answer. What will be the protocol for the current outbreak of Zika virus that has not only affected Brazil, but other countries in South America, including Colombia and Venezuela.

Image retrieved from Sri Lankan Scientist.

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