The Zika virus has the world’s attention. Just like the Ebola outbreak in 2014, the Zika virus is causing fear and panic in countries on every continent. The Zika virus is not a new virus, according to Brazil’s top medical expert, Sergio Cortes. Zika was first identified in Uganda in the late 1940s, but the symptoms of the virus were so mild that many of the infected people never knew they had a virus.
Dr. Cortes has posted a lot of information about the Zika virus outbreak in Brazil on his official website. Cortes believes researchers have made some progress as far as connecting Zika with the increase in the number of cases of microcephaly that have been reported in the state of Parnaiba, but there is much more to learn about the virus.
One of the main questions of why is the virus spreading so quickly through South America has been answered. Scientists know the carrier of the virus, the Aedes aegypti mosquito, thrives in hot weather. Virtually any size pool of water, dirty or clean, is a potential breeding ground for the mosquito. It’s summer in South America and the mosquito population is thriving, so the conditions are right for the rapid spread of Zika.
There have been reports that the virus can spread through human contact and if that is true, then the Zika virus outbreak could be bigger than the Ebola outbreak of 2014. Cortes recently said there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding what the virus is capable of once it enters the human body. The microcephaly connection seems to be true, but scientists now say the virus is a mutated form of the virus that appeared in Africa during the 1950s. This mutated strain of the virus could cause a number of health issues, according to Dr. Cortes. Infected individuals in Brazil are showing signs of hearing loss, impaired vision and intellectual slowness.
The world is waiting patiently for a Zika vaccine, but developing a vaccine is not easy because of the unknowns associated with the mutated form of the Zika virus. Scientist know the virus can remain in saliva, blood, urine and semen for an extended period, and that would suggest the virus could be passed from one person to another. Dr. Cortes posted information about human to human transmission of the virus on his LinkedIn page.