Dengue alert: Zika virus is the new threat!

New Delhi: A small, dark, hot-weather Aedes aegypti mosquito that spreads dengue has posed another threat for people “Zika Virus.”

Zika has caused panic in Brazil and has affected at least 20 countries.

Aedes aegypti mosquitoes become infected when they feed on a person already infected with the virus. Infected mosquitoes can then spread the virus to other people through bites.

It is linked to shrunken brains in children and can leave children mentally incapacitated for the remainder of their life.

The symptoms in adults and children are similar to those for dengue fever but generally milder, including flu-like aches, inflammation of the eyes, joint pain and rashes although some people have no symptoms at all.

In rare cases the disease may also lead to complications including Guillain-Barre syndrome, a disorder of the nervous system which can cause paralysis.

Writing in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Daniel R Lucey and Lawrence O Gostin say the WHO's failure to act early in the recent Ebola crisis probably cost thousands of lives.

They warn that a similar catastrophe could unfold if swift action is not taken over the Zika virus.

For now, the only way to fight Zika is to clear stagnant water where mosquitoes breed, and protect against mosquito bites

Hunt is on for a vaccine, led by scientists at the University of Texas Medical Branch.

News24 Bureau