Zika Virus: 15 Things You Didn’t Know (Part 1)

The Zika virus is quickly becoming one of the most worrisome health issues in the world right now. The virus can cause birth defects in babies of infected women, and it can be spread through both mosquitos and sexual contact. However, despite the fact that the Zika virus has spent a considerable amount of time in the spotlight and under the scrutiny of the public eye, there are still some things that many people don’t know. With that in mind, here we present our list of 15 things you probably didn’t know about the Zika virus. Check out part one below, and stay tuned for part two, coming soon!

Number Fifteen: It’s Not a New Virus. In fact, the Zika virus is quite old, but it hasn’t become a serious problem until recently. The virus was first discovered in 1947 when it was isolated from monkeys, but it didn’t really affect humans at the time.

Number Fourteen: Its Effects Vary Greatly. If you ask a doctor, “What happens when I contract the Zika virus?”, you may receive a number of answers. The Zika virus can present itself in a number ways, including having no symptoms at all. The majority of people who contract the virus don’t even realize they have it, which likely contributes to its spread. People who do experience symptoms may notice a fever, soreness, a headache, abdominal pain, or diarrhea.

Number Thirteen: It Can Cause a Deadly Neurological Condition. It’s very rare, but some people who contract the virus are later diagnosed with Guillain-Barre, which is a neurological condition involving a person’s own immune system damaging nerve cells. It can lead to paralysis and, in some cases, death.

Number Twelve: It Also Causes Birth Defects. Zika has been closely linked to microcephaly, which is a birth defect in which the baby has a shrunken head and an underdeveloped brain. Because most people who contract Zika don’t realize they have it, this is a major issue.

Number Eleven: Pregnant Women Can Take Preventative Steps. Though it’s difficult to know if you have Zika, there are ways for pregnant women to protect themselves. If you’re pregnant and have traveled recently, it might not be a bad idea to get a blood test, especially if you feel sore and have a fever.

Number Ten: It’s Not Normally Spread Between People. Unlike the flu, you can’t “catch” Zika from someone else. Rather, the virus must travel through a messenger – in Zika’s case, a mosquito. However, recent news has revealed that Zika can also be spread through sexual contact.

Number Nine: There Isn’t a Cure. Because Zika has been relatively innocuous up until recently, there has been minimal research in regards to a vaccine or cure for the virus. Researchers are now working on both a vaccine and cure to fight it. Stay tuned for part two of our list of 15 things you didn’t know about the Zika virus, coming soon!