NAIJA REBRANDER

WHAT IS ZIKA VIRUS?

The Zika (ZEE'-ka) virus was first discovered in monkey in Uganda in 1947 - its name comes from the Zika forest where it was first discovered. 
It is native mainly to tropical Africa, with outbreaks in Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands. It appeared in Brazil last year and has since been seen in many Latin American countries and Caribbean islands.
 The Zika virus has been linked with a surge in the number of babies born with abnormally small heads. As it is most dangerous for pregnant women, expectant mothers have been warned not to travel to affected area
HOW IS IT SPREAD?
It is transmitted through bites from the same kind of mosquitoes that can spread other tropical diseases, like dengue fever, chikungunya and yellow fever. 
It is not known to spread from person to person. 
Investigators, though, are exploring the possibility that the virus can be passed on through sex - it was found in one man's semen in Tahiti.
There are also reports of a man in Texas contracting the virus after having sexual contact with an ill person who returned from a Zika-affected country.
The World Health Organisation says Zika is rapidly spreading in the Americas because it is new to the region, people aren't immune to it, and the Aedes aegypti mosquito that carries it is just about everywhere - including along the southern United States. 
Canada and Chile are the only places without this mosquito.

ARE THERE SYMPTOMS?
Experts think most people infected with Zika virus don't get sick. 
And those that do usually develop mild symptoms - fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes - which usually last no more than a week. 
There is no specific medicine and there hasn't been a vaccine developed for it, which is the case for some other tropical illnesses that cause periodic outbreaks.

HOW CAN ZIKA VIRUS SPREAD BE STOPPED?
Individuals can protect themselves from mosquito bites by using insect repellents, and wearing long sleeves and long pants - especially during daylight, when the mosquitoes tend to be most active, health officials say. 
Eliminating breeding spots and controlling mosquito populations can help prevent the spread of the virus.

Credit: UkMail

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