The Zika virus has been spreading in North America like a raging fire that is out of control. The Zika virus outbreak seems unstoppable. More than 27 countries are taking steps to try to get it under control. Brazil is the hardest hit country with more than 1.5 million cases of the virus reported, according to Brazilian medical expert, Sergio Cortes. The latest country to report Zika virus cases is South Africa. The virus is also active in the Cape Verde islands off the coast of Africa. Tonga and Samoa in the Pacific region have also reported a Zika outbreak.
There’s no doubt that the explosive spread of the virus is something medical experts didn’t expect. Before the outbreak, the only known way to contract the disease was through a mosquito bite. The Aedes aegypti mosquito is the tiny nemesis that spread the disease in Uganda and India more than 60 years ago.
But there has been speculation that the virus may be spread through human contact since recent test show the virus is in the saliva, semen and urine of infected humans. The World Health Organization continues to send out warnings about the virus. And Dr. Cortes has been posting Zika virus information on his official website since last April.
The World Health Organization believes there will be another 3 to 4 million cases of Zika in the America’s in 2016, but Dr. Cortes believes that estimate is low. Cortes thinks Brazil will have that number of cases alone since there are half that amount of cases reported and thousands more that are unreported.
But there is some good news. Brazilian researchers have had a breakthrough in the Zika virus mystery. The scientists were able to identify the genome sequence of the virus, and that could lead to a vaccine to stop the spread of the disease. That genetic data will help Dr. Cortes and other medical professionals that have been sleeping with Zika questions, get some answers. The main question has been the relationship between Zika and microcephaly, and it appears the researchers in Rio have definitely proved there is a relationship that is causing pregnant women to give birth to babies that have this serious brain malformation disease.