The Zika virus was first detected in Uganda in a sentinel rhesus monkey. The virus is transmitted by the Aedes mosquito to humans. There are no major symptoms of the virus and few cases of hospitalization and death. The symptoms that are reported includes a slight fever, rash, headache, conjunctivitis and joint and muscle pain. The virus can be detected during the first week of infection. There is no vaccine for the virus so avoidance is the best strategy. Wearing long sleeves, using bug repellent and using mosquito nets help to regulate the spread of the virus by infected Aedes mosquitoes.
The Zika virus has been thought to cause microcephaly in unborn babies. Microcephaly is a disorder that causes babies to be born with smaller brains. While there is stills some work needed to link the virus and microcephaly, there have been six confirmed cases in Brazil of the effects of the Zika virus.Although there has not been concrete scientific proof of the link between Zika and microcephaly disorder in babies, there has been an increase in cases in Brazil.
Recently, the Zika virus has reached the US affecting those who have traveled to Latin America and the Caribbean. There was a reported case, on Jan 15th, in Hawaii of a baby contracting the virus from an affected mother and three cases in New York of people who traveled to these areas who have contracted the virus. US Authorities have warned pregnant women against travelling to Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Cape Verde, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Saint Martin, Samoa, Surinam and Venezuela.