Recently you can hear a lot about Zika virus which mainly endangers pregnant women and their fetuses, causing malformations. The virus is spreading especially in South America, but WHO has introduced global emergency and alert, divany.hu wrote.
What does the Zika virus actually cause?
The virus infection may cause heat rise or not too high fever and rash. Sometimes, people feel muscle pain, joint pain, headache and conjunctivitis. In general, it is self-healing, and no death was reported so far.
However, Zika can cause malformations in unborn babies. One of these disorders is microcephaly.
What is microcephaly?
Microcephaly is a malformation which can be hereditary or can be caused by many intra-uterine diseases, not just by Zika. In this case, the fetus’ and the baby’s skull and brain do not grow at a satisfactory rate. Several neurological dysfunctions can occur, and intellectual disability is common too.
Can I catch it if Brazilians sit next to me on the tram?
No, Zika virus does not spread by droplet infection or a handshake, but by Aedes mosquitoes. You can catch it by the bite of an infected mosquito. In addition, the virus spreads by blood transfusion and sexual contact as well, divany.hu wrote.
Can this mosquito be found in Hungary as well?
There are many varieties of Aedes mosquitoes. Two of them, Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus (Asian tiger mosquito) spread Zika. Some specimens of the latter were seen in Hungary as well, but that is not enough too speak about an epidemic. In addition there is mosquito control against them.
What does this mosquito look like? Can I recognize it?
According to divany.hu, the Asian tiger mosquito bites mainly during the day and its body and wings are striped.
Any news about the vaccine?
It is currently in development, but it is not ready yet. Several drug companies started researches, but it can take years to finish them.
I’m pregnant. Where should I not travel?
First of all, South American countries are affected, but sporadic cases were reported in some Asian countries too, divany.hu told.
If I absolutely have to travel, what can I do?
The only thing left to do is the protection against mosquitoes. Use mosquito net, don’t sleep outdoors, wear long clothes and use mosquito repellent. And, of course, don’t have unprotected sex in the infected countries.
Copy editor: bm