What Is The Zika Virus?

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The Zika virus could infect millions of people in the Americas this year, and the World Health Organization just deemed it an international emergency.

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22 COMMENTS

  1. Is the virus fatal/life threatening if you get infected? All I'm seeing is pregnant women beware as it can affect your baby. But what happens to the woman that is infected? What if a man is infected? What if a child is infected? Is it like Dengue, which can kill infected people?

  2. Even though there is no cure there are already experimental genetically engineered mosquitos being bred whose offspring are infertile that will decimate the mosquito population. I believe they were originally meant for malaria carrying mosquitos but the effects will be the same.

  3. "a mosquito that lives mostly in tropical regions" which means it will be coming to the US in due time due to climate change. Do to warmer temps these little buggers and all of the other problems such as west nile are slowly climbing north.

  4. Haha I thought you were going to discuss the taxonomy and characteristics of the virus itself. Anyway, I want to point out two things:

    1. The paralysis is called Guillian-Barre syndrome (GBS), and like the birth defects, the link is only correlational. No definitive causal link has been found yet. What was used to form the link was an increased incidence in both birth defects and GBS in the South American countries, which occurred alongside the Zika outbreak. (taken from UpToDate)

    2. Yes, the average time for a vaccine to be developed is around 10 years but an emergency vaccine could be available for distribution within the next year (Google: David Weiner and Gary Kobinger, Canada-US consortium). There are two reasons for this. First, we have come a long way in the development of vaccines so the process has sped up in the last 25 years. Second and more importantly, the Zika virus comes the Flavivirus genus so it shares some characteristics with the Yellow Fever virus and Japenese Encephalitis virus both of which there are already vaccines for. They're using this as a jumping off point to develop a vaccine much faster than the average 10 year timeline.

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