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Zika Virus

Before October 2015, when people talked about mosquitoes and diseases malaria, dengue and yellow fever were on the hotlist. But a recent outbreak has lead to Zika being one of the most talked about mosquito-borne diseases.

The Zika virus is spread mainly through the bite of an infected Aedes species of mosquito. Patients who have accumulated the Zika virus usually don’t get sick enough to warrant hospital visits, with many cases going unnoticed.

The first identification of the virus was in Uganda in 1947 in rhesus monkeys during routine surveillance for sylvatic yellow fever. The first identified case in humans was in 1952, with subsequent cases recorded in Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific. The first large outbreak was reported in Micronesia in 2007.

The WHO states that during large outbreaks in French Polynesia and Brazil in 2013 and 2015 national health authorities reported potential neurological and autoimmune complications of Zika virus infection. There has been an increase in cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome as well as increase in babies born with microcephaly during these outbreaks and they are strongly suspected to be associated with the Zika virus.

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