The Virus That’s Sweeping the Globe: Zika

Lately in the news there is a lot of talk about a new virus- Zika. The Zika virus is a virus currently raging through Southern America. This terrible virus is spread with mosquito bites. Once you have contracted the virus there are usually few to no symptoms at all: The common symptoms are fevers, rashes, red eyes, joint pains, but even they occur rarely. This makes Zika even more dangerous: one may have the disease and not know about it. A Zika infection lasts around six months, and is sexually transmittable. Zika does not affect most people individually. Usually you are not sick enough to go to a hospital and people rarely die. Yet there are greater problems with zika.

The zika virus is very dangerous for pregnant mothers, or rather, their babies. When a pregnant mother contracts Zika at any stage of her pregnancy, her baby may be affected. Zika has been proven to trigger microcephaly– a disease which causes babies to be born with smaller-than-usual heads. The reason for this is that the baby’s brain stopped growing during or before birth. This disease usually comes with other side effects (but not always) and may be fatal.

Lately, a new technology which may help to defeat zika has come out. The idea behind it is to take a large group of mosquitoes and give them a small genetic mutation. Later they can be released into a community of other mosquitoes to breed. The genetic mutation causes the baby mosquitoes to die shortly after birth.

This method of exterminating the carriers of this virus may help a lot, but first it has to be verified by government agencies. A few people consider this a bit risky since we do not know any of the future side effects this may cause.

The future of this virus is very unpredictable and our control over the virus has yet to increase and new medicine is yet to be found.