10 Frightening Facts About The Zika Virus

Lists, Science

Every so often a health crisis grips the public and strikes fear into those who are susceptible to it. This year, it’s the Zika virus which is a hot topic with the World Health Organization (WHO). The Zika virus is spread by mosquitoes who are infected with it. It is especially dangerous because of the long-term effects it can have on unborn babies if either of their parents are infected with the harmful virus. Symptoms can range from being very mild and nearly unnoticeable to being fatal to fetuses. Here are ten other scary facts about the Zika virus.

There’s No Treatment or Vaccination

There is no known treatment or vaccination for the Zika virus. Right now, health professionals treat symptoms of it and advise individuals to protect themselves from mosquitoes and avoid traveling to areas known to be populated with the virus.

It Hasn’t Been Around That Long

Much of the reason there is no known treatment for the Zika virus is the fact it has only been a known virus since 1947. Even after that, it was a very obscure virus until an outbreak in Yap in 2007.

It Was First Discovered in Monkeys

When the Zika virus was first documented in 1947 in Uganda, it was discovered in monkeys, not humans. It wasn’t until 1952 that it was first identified in humans.

It Can Be Sexually Transmitted

While the Zika virus is primarily spread through being bitten by an infected mosquito, there have also been two cases reportedly spread through sexual contact.

It is Most Concerning to Expectant Mothers

Unfortunately, the most serious effects of the Zika virus are seen on unborn babies. Recently, the virus was linked to microcephaly. This condition results in an abnormally small head and an improperly formed and developed brain which is often fatal.

It’s Been Found in Several Countries

While it appears to have originated in Uganda, confirmed cases of the Zika virus have also been seen in places like Brazil, Colombia, Vietnam, Cabo Verde, and the United States.

It Might Be Causing Another Scary Condition

Medical experts have recently noticed an increase in Guillain-Barre syndrome coinciding with the Zika virus outbreak. Guillain-Barre syndrome is a nervous system condition that can cause total paralysis or even death.

Scientists are Still Learning About It

The public is being continually updated about the Zika virus because scientists are steadily uncovering new information about it as well as debunking other theories about the virus. This uncertainty has caused a lot of fear in the public, so health officials are working double time to get answers.

You’re Safest 6,500 Feet Up

Interestingly, mosquitoes are almost never found in altitudes greater than 6,500 feet. For this reason, health officials say that even if you live in a country having Zika outbreaks, you will be safest at a high altitude.

Some Experts Say to Delay Pregnancy

Health officials in five countries have suggested women delay getting pregnant until the epidemic slows. If you are a woman who tested positive for the Zika virus or had symptoms of it, you are instructed to wait eight weeks until you try to get pregnant. Because the virus can live longer in semen, men should wait at least six months to reproduce.