Zika virus is an emerging mosquito-borne virus that was first identified in Uganda in 1947 in rhesus monkeys through a monitoring network of sylvatic yellow fever. It was subsequently identified in humans in 1952 in Uganda and Tanzania.
Symptoms of the disease appear only on one out of four people having Zika virus, and can not monitor a large number of cases, which make it difficult to know the true extent of the disease in the American continent.
• Zika virus disease is caused by a virus transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes.
• People with Zika virus disease usually have symptoms that can include mild fever, skin rashes, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise or headache. These symptoms normally last for 2-7 days.
• There is no specific treatment or vaccine currently available.
• The best form of prevention is protection against mosquito bites.
There is strong evidence that the Zika virus causes microcephaly, a birth defect with small head and brain, when pregnant woman transfer the virus to her fetus.
Mosquitoes and their breeding sites pose a significant risk factor for Zika virus infection. Prevention and control relies on reducing mosquitoes through source reduction (removal and modification of breeding sites) and reducing contact between mosquitoes and people.
This can be done by using insect repellent; wearing clothes (preferably light-coloured) that cover as much of the body as possible; using physical barriers such as screens, closed doors and windows; and sleeping under mosquito nets. It is also important to empty, clean or cover containers that can hold water such as buckets, flower pots or tyres, so that places where mosquitoes can breed are removed.
Special attention and help should be given to those who may not be able to protect themselves adequately, such as young children, the sick or elderly.
During outbreaks, health authorities may advise that spraying of insecticides be carried out.
Travellers should take the basic precautions described above to protect themselves from mosquito bites.
Current Zika Outbreak
As of April 2022, there are no current outbreaks of Zika worldwide, although a significant outbreak did occur in India in November of 2021. Health experts have warned that a new outbreak could happen at any time, requiring only a single mutation to generate a new variant of the virus.
Areas with current or past transmission:
American Samoa, Angola, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Aruba,
Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Bonaire, Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Burkina Faso, Burma, Burundi,
Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Cayman Islands, Central African Republic, Colombia, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Cuba, Curacao,
Dominica, Dominican Republic, Easter Island, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ethiopia,
Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, France, French Guiana, French Polynesia, Gabon, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana,
Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Kenya, Kiribati, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Martinique, Mexico, Montserrat,
New Caledonia, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Puerto Rico,
Saba, Saint Barthelemy, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Martin, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Senegal, Singapore, Sint Eustatius, Sint Maarten, Solomon Islands, Suriname,
Thailand, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos, Uganda, United States (Continental US), United States Virgin Islands, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Vietnam.