What Is The Zika Virus and What Does It Do?
Anyone studying for an online MPH degree will probably be aware of just how awful the Zika virus
actually is. However, unless you are also studying for a master of public health, or live in an area
that has been affected by the Zika virus, it’s possible that you don’t know just how bad it can be.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at the Zika virus in more detail so that you can prepare
yourself should you ever travel to an infected region.
What is the Zika Virus?
The Zika virus is a mosquito borne infection, which was first heard about in 1947 in Africa. However,
it has recently been in the news a lot, especially since it traveled to Brazil and the number of
recorded cases has continued to grow. It is now a huge matter of public health and people are being
warned about the dangers of traveling to Zika infected locations.
Most people who catch the Zika virus don’t come to much harm. Many don’t even realize they have
been infected, and those that do suffer from a very mild infection with no long-lasting effects.
However, the virus can lead to issues for unborn babies. When a woman is infected while pregnant,
the virus leads to birth defects in the unborn child.
There have also been links between the Zika virus and Guillain-Barre, a neurological disease that can
lead to paralysis in adults. In some extremely rare cases, the Zika virus has led to death, but this is
usually due to the patient suffering from underlying conditions.
Is There a Cure?
Currently, there is no cure for the Zika virus and no vaccines are available to prevent it. Instead,
master of public health professionals are doing as much as they can to raise awareness about the
virus and encouraging people to take precautions when traveling to a Zika infected area.
Research is still ongoing and it is hoped that a vaccine may be made available in the not too distant
future. Researchers at the Pasteur Institute in France have made the biggest breakthroughs so far,
and they are hoping to create a super vaccine that can help protect people against both Zika and
According to the World Health Organization, those infected with the Zika virus should just get plenty
of rest and drink lots of fluids. Fevers and pains can be treated with common medications. Pregnant
women who suspect they have the virus should contact their healthcare providers for advice.
What Does the Future Look Like?
The Zika virus has spread fast since it first discovered in 1947. Currently, 65 countries have reported
cases of the virus, 61 of which have only been infected in the last two years. It is believed that the
virus could continue to spread until a vaccine is found, with experts believing most of the Americas
and the Caribbean to be the largest targets.
Hopefully, a cure for the disease won’t be too far away.