The virus is said to have been isolated first in Africa in 1949 but reached Brazil in May 2015 and the infection became an outbreak in October 2015. The infection can exist anywhere you have Dengue fever or Yellow fever as the same mosquito transmits the three viruses.
Zika virus infection is currently raving Brazil, South America. It started in October 2015 when the country recorded 147 births of babies with microcephaly (small head), but this number has now increased to more than 3000. As of today, over 1.5 million Brazilians are infected by the virus.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that the Zika virus infection can spread to the whole world if care is not taken. The World Health Organization (WHO) has expressed fear that the Rio carnival currently on in Rio De Janeiro may aid world-wide spread of Zika virus. The carnival attracts visitors from all over the world and so far about 1.5 million Brazilians have been affected by the virus in the current outbreak.
About thirty countries have reported cases of Zika virus infection in the current outbreak, they include: Brazil, Colombia, Bolivia, Samoa, Haiti, Cape Verde, USA, El-Salvador, Paraguay, French Guiana, Guyana, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Martinique, Venezuela, US Virgin Islands, Barbados, Panama, Ecuador, Honduras, Saint Martin, Guatemala, Guadeloupe and Suriname, Australia, China, and United Kingdom.
Nigeria’s Health Minister, Prof. Isaac Adewole, has advised Nigerian health workers and Nigerians who recently returned from Latin American countries to be on the lookout for any signs of Zika virus infection and report such. He also advised the immigration officials to thoroughly interview inbound passengers to confirm if they travelled to any of the affected countries recently.
The virus is transmitted by the Aedes Egypti mosquito which breeds in stagnant waters in warm climates, the extant conditions in several countries in the world.
Low and middle income countries in Africa and South east Asia are at high risk of Zika virus, so says the World Health Organization. WHO therefore intends to set surveillance centres in these areas to monitor the disease, at the same time, efforts are on to develop a vaccine.
However, a few cases transmitted through sexual intercourse and blood transfusion have been reported.
The illness has no cure and no vaccine against it but it is possible to prevent it. Below are some ways of prevention:
1.Be aware of the disease
One way of avoiding a disease is to be aware of it, learn everything you can about Zika virus infection, what causes it, how it spreads and the symptoms and how to avoid it. Just the rudimentary information is enough
2.Avoid travel to affected areas for now
Some countries are affected have the imported infection; brought in by travellers, the disease may not thrive in those countries, the disease can only thrive where the mosquito exist like countries in tropical Africa, the Americas except Chile and Canada because of the extreme low temperature, the Caribbean Islands, the Pacific Islands, and South east Asia (Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines etc)
You should avoid travel to the countries in the areas mentioned above particularly South and Central American countries; more so if you are pregnant or planning to get pregnant.
3.Use of Long Lasting Insecticide Treated Nets
To contract Zika virus infection, you have to be bitten by a mosquito that has the virus, as long as you are not bitten by such mosquito, you cannot have the infection. Sleeping inside” long lasting insecticide treated nets” saves you from mosquito bites.
These nets are already being distributed free to individuals, mostly pregnant women under the “roll back malaria”program.
Please ensure that you get this net and also use it when you get it.
4.Use of wire meshing on windows and doors.
Wire meshing on windows and doors prevents mosquitoes from entering the
house but you could be bitten by them if you went out not properly dressed.
No mosquitoes, no Zika virus infection..
5.Use of full-length clothes in the evening/night.
Wearing full-length clothes in the evening and night saves you from mosquito bites; trousers and long sleeved shirts.
No mosquito bite, no Zika virus infection.
6.Regular Spraying of your home; inside and outside
Regular fumigation of your home reduces the mosquito population in yourhouse, this is called Indoor Residual Spraying. The outside of the building should also be sprayed.
This should be done every three months but it is expensive. The Local Government Council usually has a unit that does the spraying at affordable cost.
No mosquitoes, no Zika virus infection.
7.Proper Management of your environment
Managing your environment can reduce the number of mosquitoes around you. If allowed, cover the drainages around your home. All possible containers of static water must be removed from the premises; this includes used
tyres, broken bottles, tins, and any other materials that can retain water.
This is meant to prevent the growth of mosquitoes.