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Zika Virus Research Papers

Zika virus research papers can focus on any aspect of Zika that you need examined. Zika is similiar to COVID-19 and comes from the same type of virus but they are very different organisms. Learn more by comparing and contrasting Zika and Covid-19 or by researching coronavirus in general.

In early 2016, American media began reporting extensively about the Zika virus. Zika is spread to humans through a mosquito bite, and its symptoms include the following:

  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Joint pain
  • Conjunctivitis

For most people, the Zika virus is not necessarily anything to worry, as it is not fatal and symptoms are generally mild for period up to a week. Hospitalization because of Zika virus is almost always not necessary.

The climate of the Americas – North America, Central America, and South America – are such that the mosquitoes that transmit the virus survive easily. Compounding this is the fact that, at present, there is neither any immunity to the disease nor is there a vaccine. The virus is not new; it traces back to Uganda in the late 1940s before traveling to Asia and the Pacific Islands. Last year, it appeared in the Americas, though initial response was not of great concern. In the months since its detection in this new region, health experts became more troubled about the impact the disease could be having on infants.

Despite all the urgency regarding the spread of the disease, the sickness itself remains rather mild. More than three-quarters of those infected with the Zika virus do not exhibit any outward symptoms, and those who do experience mild results, including fever, rash, and pink eye. However, the disease does have a profound impact on pregnant women: the correlation between areas where the Zika virus has been found and the birth of infants with microcephaly, characterized by abnormally small heads, something that can cause developmental issues, as well as the presence of Guillian-Barre symptom, an autoimmune disorder, cannot be ignored.

The impact of the Zika virus stretches beyond the individual, though. Canada, for example, is asking all donors who have traveled anywhere internationally except for the United States and Europe to abstain from donation for a 30-day period after their return. The American Red Cross has not made such a statement as of yet, but is monitoring the situation closely. One of the greatest issues with the disease is misdiagnosis: because so many people do not experience symptoms, and because the symptoms that do manifest mirror so many other common ailments, correctly diagnosing the Zika virus is increasingly difficult. This, in turn, can influence the efficacy of tracking the spread and impact of the disease in various countries.

Going forward, it is clear that much needs to be done to combat this disease. Clinical trials on a vaccine are expected to begin this year, but practical applications are still quite a distance away. Instead, current practices to combat the impact of the Zika virus include the following:

  1. Advising women in disease-ridden areas to avoid becoming pregnant while the threat is still high
  2. Warning individuals about the risk of the virus when considering traveling to effected areas
  3. Combatting the growth and spread of the Aedes mosquito, the insect responsible for spreading the Zika virus, though this tactic is proving to be more difficult than expected. The insect is incredibly resilient, reproducing in what would otherwise seem like insignificant amounts of water, and is adaptable enough to survive in a variety of climates, from the Aedes aegypti in the tropics to the Aedes albopictus in Europe and other Mediterranean areas.

The Zika virus can be extremely dangerous to pregnant women. There still many unknowns surrounding the Zika virus, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that pregnant women and those attempting to become pregnant take special precautions. The Zika virus is known to cause a specific birth defect, microcephaly. Microcephaly is characterized by a smaller than expected head, which also indicates smaller than normal brain size. Children with microcephaly are at risk for medical problems such as:

  • Seizures
  • Developmental delay
  • Intellectual disability
  • Hearing loss
  • Vision problems
  • Difficulty swallowing

As of early 2016, there is no vaccine for Zika, nor is the any medicine that proves efficacious. Although the Zika virus was first identified in 1952, no cases were reported outside of Africa or Southeast Asia before 2007. In April 2015, a widespread outbreak began in Brazil, and the mosquitoes carrying the Zika virus eventually migrated to the southern United States.

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