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How Serious is the Zika Virus?

I have never heard of this virus before it became popular on the news. Actually, my mother may have warned me about it, but that was awhile ago and since then, I have heard nothing about the virus.

However, judging from the side effects alone, the zika virus seems pretty serious.

  • There is a fever accompanied by a rash,
  • joint pain and
  • red eyes, and
  • there is no vaccine or medicine to remedy this virus!

Although sufferers will very rarely die from the virus, most people are not sick enough to go to the hospital and will usually be bedridden for about a week.

If you are pregnant the virus can cause severe birth defects and cause the child to develop microcephaly. Microcephaly is where the child’s head does not develop fully and is left disproportionately smaller than the rest of the body and can lead to seizures, intellectual disabilities, feeding problems, hearing loss, et cetera. Considering the severity to pregnant women, the zika virus is dangerous, leaving children with permanent damage to their brains and development. When the virus is passed from mother to child, it can be contracted through numerous ways.

A mosquito bite seems to be the most common way to contract the virus, as well as through:

  • sexual contact,
  • blood transfusion and
  • laboratory exposure.

The most affected area is Brazil with thousands of people getting infected and many pregnant women baring babies with microcephaly. Interestingly enough, the first child in North America was born with microcephaly after the mother contracted the zika virus. So it is indeed spreading.

There are ways you can prevent the zika virus from reaching you though. It is recommended to:

  • wear clothing that covers your body,
  • apply insect repellent regularly,
  • if you do not need to go outside, don’t,
  • stay inside in the air conditioning,
  • sleep under a mosquito net if you have one and
  • avoid traveling to areas where cases of the zika virus have been reported.

Although there have not been a large amount of reports in North America of the zika virus, it still could make it’s way across the globe and infect many people. On the other hand, it could just be like the swine flu and die down by next year while pharmaceutical companies try to come up with a vaccine to prevent the zika virus and make some quick cash. The only difference is that pregnant women and their children seem to suffer the most. I suppose we will see in the coming months.

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