Sergio Cortes Explains the Transmission and Dangers of Zika Virus

The first evidence of Zika virus emerged in the 1940s, and was first identified in Uganda, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, and other African countries. According to Dr. Sergio Cortes, the virus also spread throughout Asia, reaching places like India and Thailand, over the years.
In 2015, the Zika virus began to circulate in nine Latin American countries, including Mexico, Colombia, and Brazil. The WHO (World Health Organization) was alarmed enough to issue a warning about the dangers of the disease. This summary will focus on the Zika virus’s origins and possible role in other diseases.

The first cases of Zika virus in Brazil occurred in April. Since then, the steady increase in the number of cases of the disease has health experts in that country worried.

The Zika virus is not contagious and cannot be transmitted from one person to another. An person can only get the disease through the bite of the mosquito Aedes aegypti. The problem is when an uninfected mosquito bites a person with the Zika Virus, the mosquito becomes contaminated. From there, the mosquito transmits the disease to those who are subsequently bitten, thus generating a hard-to-control chain reaction. Incidentally, mosquitoes transmit dengue fever and chikungunya by that method.

Overall, the Aedes aegypti prefers to lay her eggs in clean water and virtually any location serves as breeding. Even bottle caps with standing water, Cortes notes, can serve as mosquito breeding ground. However, it can adapt to different situations, and can reproduce in waters containing organic materials. Sergio Cortes cites a recent study that proves the eggs of Aedes aegypti can remain inert in a local dry land for up to one year, waiting for any contact with the water to develop.

While the symptoms of Zika virus can be quickly controlled and cured, what worries doctors is that there is a proven link between Zika virus and microcephaly. Doctors also speculate that the Zika virus may be connected with Guillain-Barré syndrome, a very serious neurological and autoimmune disease.

The Brazilian Ministry of Health confirmed the link between the virus and microcephaly at the end of August. The Ministry of Health found to the most affected regions with cases of microcephaly had Zika virus outbreaks months before. The link to Guillain-Barré syndrome comes from many cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome arising after viral or bacterial infection.

Sources: (translated from Portuguese)