What are the Symptoms of Zika Virus
Zika virus belongs to the genus flavivirus and is a condition that is transmitted by infected bites from the Aedes aegypti mosquito. This contagion is also responsible for other conditions such as dengue or chikungunya virus. However, this disease is much milder and is asymptomatic in most cases, so a patient can be suffering from it without even noticing. Between 20 to 25% of the symptoms exhibited are very similar to dengue fever. However detecting it and taking appropriate rest is important for a successful recovery. This OneHowTo article explains what the symptoms of Zika virus are.
Zika virus originated in Uganda, specifically in the Zika forest, hence its name. This condition was first detected in a group of macaques in 1947, but it had already been transmitted to humans who lived in Uganda and Tanzania by 1952.
The virus subsequently spread to Asia and in 2007 was detected on an island in Micronesia in the Pacific Ocean. In 2013, it had already affected 10,000 inhabitants in French Polynesia, and finally in 2014 and 2015 the first cases were detected in Easter Island, Chile and Brazil.
As is the case with similar conditions such as dengue or chikungunya, the Zika virus is primarily transmitted by an infected bite from the Aedes aegypti mosquito, although other types of Aedes mosquitoes and some arachnids such as ticks can also transmit it.
Once an insect infected with the virus has bitten a person, it takes between 3 to 12 days to incubate. It primarily affects the dendritic cells and then moves into the lymph nodes and the blood. However, between 75 and 80% of those infected will never develop symptoms, so they will not be aware of the presence of this disease, which can disappear from the body by itself.
Between 20 and 25% of patients infected with the Zika virus will develop signs of the disease, which are usually mild and are short in duration lasting between 2 and 7 days.
Zika virus symptoms are usually confused with similar conditions such as dengue or chikungunya, and are characterised by signs such as:
- Fever below 39°C
- Joint and muscle pain
- Inflammation, usually on the hands and feet
- Conjunctivitis without secretion
- Fatigue and malaise
- Skin rash that usually starts on the face and then spreads across the body
- In some cases vomiting and diarrhoea occur
As is the case with similar infections, Zika virus does not have a specific treatment. The symptoms usually disappear after 7 days, whilst the infection is eliminated by the body itself after a few weeks.
If symptoms develop, the recommendations are the same as with other conditions of this type:
- Rest and relaxation are recommended, especially if symptoms are severe. This is the only way of ensuring that the virus passes quickly and without any major problems.
- Hydration is very important for preventing harmful effects from a fever, so we recommend that you drink water and juices frequently in small sips.
- Taking antipyretics is useful for reducing fever and headache, but taking aspirin or anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen is not recommended, because they make the blood more fluid which may be risky if it is dengue. Until the disease has been eliminated, it's best to avoid such products.
If symptoms worsen or new symptoms are present, it is important to consult a doctor.
To date, no cases of Zika virus have been deadly, and patients have only required hospitalisation in very specific conditions. However, there have been outbreaks of this condition in several Brazilian states where they have also had a high incidence of babies with microcephaly. This is an anomaly that occurs during pregnancy where the foetus' skull does not properly develop, which often leads to brain atrophy and various complications.
For this reason, pregnant women who are in an endemic area should increase their measures for preventing Zika virus and for guaranteeing the health of their baby.
This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.
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