Despite initially being touted as a harmless disease, Dr. Sergio Cortes, Brazilian medical expert says the Zika virus can cause severe health issues. Formerly reported on R7 Noticias, the Zika virus was primarily ignored which made it difficult to establish the severity of the virus. With over 1.5 million cases in Brazil, and several thousand elsewhere, Dr. Cortes warns about the risks. A study performed by a team at John Hopkins hospital and Florida State University have discovered that the Zika virus is capable of infecting the neural stem cells, which lower skull formation and damage intellectual development. As Dr. Sergio Cortes has reported, traces of the Zika virus in fetal brain tissue has confirmed the link between microcephaly and Zika.
The Mysterious Virus
Dr. Cortes says on Noticias, “We were really blindsided by this outbreak of the Zika virus,” and “the virus had its sights on Africa and Asia and then went rogue, spreading into South America.” Transmitted by the bite of a mosquito, Zika closely resembles the chikungunya and dengue virus, but the Zika virus has pretty much remained a mysterious infection for decades. Even chikungunya was pretty much unknown, up until a little more than a decade ago. Symptoms are similar among all three viruses, yet with Zika, symptoms appear and disappear before the person knows they’re infected. “The good news is that Zika is not fatal. In most people, the disease is milder than chikungunya and dengue,” says Dr. Cortes.
What Are The Signs of Acute Zika Infection?
Around four out of five infections appear asymptomatic. In other cases, the persons concerned have rather mild discomfort. Three to twelve days after being bitten by the Aedes mosquito they feel feverish, headaches, joint pain, sometimes conjunctivitis. It is also characterized by a nodular-patchy rash and itching. The symptoms normally disappear after a maximum of one week
Discovered in 1947, Zika sporadically reared its head in Africa and Asia. For half a century the virus kept quiet, until it raged in the Pacific islands. Last May it reached Brazil, and a little later Colombia, and by early 2016, the virus had infected more than 30 countries. Unfortunately, scientists are just beginning to pay close attention.
To date, no cure has been found, but according to Dr. Cortes, the Butantan Institute in Sao Paulo has been working on an antiviral antidote, and hopes the National Health Surveillance Agency approves the drug later this month.