What Is Zika Virus?


Zika virus is a virus that spread through mosquito bites, especially Aedes Aegypti species. This type of mosquito is the same type of mosquito with mosquitoes spread of dengue virus, chikungunya and Yellow Fever. Zika virus causes Zika disease or Zika Fever.

The Zika virus was first discovered in a monkey resus in the Zika Forest, Uganda, in 1947. Later, the Zika virus was again found in the Aedes africanus mosquito species in the same forest in 1948. In 1952, it was found the first human infected with the Zika virus in Uganda and the Republic of Tanzania. In the 1960s to the 1980s, the Zika virus began to spread to Africa and Asia, including India, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Pakistan. In 2015, there is a Zika virus outbreak in a number of places. The most affected areas are South America, especially Brazil and Colombia, Central America, some regions of the Pacific region, and the Caribbean Islands.

Causes of Zika Virus
The cause of Zika's disease or Zika fever is the Zika virus. The Zika virus belongs to the group of flavivirus viruses that are still from the same family as the virus that causes dengue fever .

Aedes aegypti mosquito takes and carries the Zika virus from humans who have been infected with the virus. Through its bite, Aedes aegypti mosquitoes spread the Zika virus back to uninfected humans.

Aedes aegypti mosquito species are very active during the day and live and breed indoors and outdoors close to humans, especially in areas where there are puddles.

In addition to mosquito bites, Zika virus can also be transmitted from mother to fetus in the womb. Zika virus infection during pregnancy is associated with a risk of miscarriage and microcephaly, a disorder that causes the brain to develop completely and potentially fatal. For the transmission of Zika virus through breastfeeding process has never been found, so doctors still recommend an infected mother to continue breastfeeding her baby.

In addition, the Zika virus can also be transmitted through blood transfusion and sexual intercourse. However, such cases are rare.

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Symptoms of Zika Virus
Zika virus often does not show symptoms or signs, so the patient does not know that he contracted the virus Zika. However, if symptoms appear, usually mild and emerging 3-12 days after bitten. The symptoms that generally appear, among others:
  • The body feels weak and tired.
  • Fever .
  • Headache.
  • Rash.
  • Muscle ache.
  • Joint pain.
  • Conjunctivitis or inflammation of the eyelid.
These symptoms usually last for several days. One in 5 people infected with this virus may become ill. Although very rare, the Zika virus can appear as a severe case requiring further treatment at the hospital and even death.


Diagnosis of Zika Virus
To diagnose the virus Zika, the doctor will ask about the medical history and symptoms felt by the patient. The doctor will also ask about the patient's travel history, especially to the region or country that has a history of the spread of the Zika virus, and what activities are performed. This is done by doctors to help narrow the diagnosis because the symptoms of Zika virus resemble the symptoms of several other diseases, such as dengue and Chikungunya .

The doctor will also perform blood or urine tests to detect the Zika virus in the body. Especially pregnant women, doctors may perform further examination which includes:
  • Ultrasound pregnancy to detect microcephaly or other brain disorders.
  • Amniocentesis is performed by inserting a hollow needle into the uterus to take a sample of amniotic fluid. This procedure is performed to detect the virus Zika.

Zika Virus Treatment
There is no treatment to treat the virus Zika. Zika virus treatment focused on efforts to reduce symptoms experienced by patients. Handling can be done, among others:
  • Enough rest.
  • Drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration.
  • Consumption of drugs, such as paracetamol, to relieve fever and headaches.

Zika Virus Complications
Complications that may occur due to virus Zika, among others:
  • Defects in infants. Pregnant women infected with the Zika virus are at high risk of transmitting the Zika virus to the fetus it is carrying. If this happens, it will have an impact on the development and condition of the baby. Some conditions of infant defect due to virus Zika, including:
    • Microcephthaly, a defective condition that occurs in infants where the baby's head size is smaller than normal size. Infants with microcephaly tend to have smaller brains because their development has been hampered since in the womb.
    • A collection of congenital symptoms of Zika. This condition of birth defects is illustrated by the following five traits:
      • Partial bone fragmentation of the skull or microcephaly.
      • Reduced brain tissue due to damage to certain parts of the brain.
      • Damage to the back of the eye.
      • Disturbance in the joints so that the ability to move is limited.
      • Too many muscles that restrict gestures.
  • Guillain-Barr S syndrome (GBS), a collection of symptoms that arise when the immune system attacks the body's nerves. The main symptoms are muscle weakening due to nerve disorders. Guillain-Barr S syndrome was recorded in several countries when the Zika virus outbreak occurred, one of them in French Polynesia.
  • Infections of the brain, such as meningitis. Although it can happen, the possibility of Zika virus causing infection in the brain is very small.
Generally, when a person is infected with the Zika virus, then most likely the person will be protected from Zika virus infection in the future. The body by itself will form antibodies from this viral infection.


Prevention of Zika Virus
One of the first steps to prevent infection of virus Zika is to avoid mosquito bites. Some things that can be done to prevent mosquito bites, among others:

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and trousers, and socks.
  • Use lotion antinyamuk.
  • If possible, use the air conditioner because mosquitoes do not like cold places.
  • If it is not possible to use air conditioner, then use mosquito wire on window or door of house and use mosquito net when sleep.
  • Clean the water shelter once a week and cover it to prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs in it.
  • Throw away used objects that allow stagnant water, such as flower pots, buckets, or unused tires, so mosquitoes do not use them as breeding grounds
  • Spread the larvicide powder in the water reservoir to kill the mosquito larvae.

If you have an infant or a toddler, there are several steps you can take to protect your baby or child from a Zika virus infection, including:
  • Make sure the baby is wearing clothes that can protect him from mosquito bites.
  • Use bed nets on beds and baby strollers.
  • Avoid using lotion antinyamuk if baby still under 2 months old.
  • Note the child's body area when applying a mosquito repellent lotion. Avoid areas of the body that are injured or are experiencing irritation, eye area, mouth, and hands.
If you plan to travel to an area or country that has a history of the Zika virus, there are several things you can do, including:
  • Consult your health first with a doctor approximately 4-6 weeks before departure.
  • Look for information on the areas to be visited, such as available health facilities.
  • Perform a Zika virus test if you experience symptoms of Zika's infection after returning from a region or country with a history of viral spread.

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