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Free Information: All you need to know about Zika Virus Disease

Zika virus disease 

key facts

  • The Zika virus disease is caused by a virus transmitted primarily by Aedes mosquitoes.
  • Affected individuals may have a mild fever, rash (rash), conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise or headache. These symptoms usually disappear within 2 to 7 days.
  • A scientific consensus has to say that Zika virus is causing cases of microcephaly and Guillain-Barre syndrome. Links with other neurological complications are being investigated. 


Zika virus is a flavivirus transmitted by mosquitoes and was first identified in Uganda in 1947 in monkeys, through a monitoring network of jungle yellow fever. It was then identified in humans in 1952 in Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania. Zika virus disease outbreaks have been recorded in Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific.
From the 1960s to 1980, human infections have been observed in Africa and Asia, accompanied usually mild symptoms. The first major outbreak of Zika virus disease was notified on the island of Yap (FSM) in 2007. In July 2015, Brazil reported a link between Zika virus infection and Guillain syndrome Closed off. In October 2015, he also noted the link with microcephaly.

Signs and symptoms

We do not know very well the incubation period (the time from exposure to onset of symptoms), but is probably a few days. The symptoms resemble those of other arboviruses such as dengue and include fever, rash, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise and headache. They are generally mild and disappear within 2-7 days.

Complications of Zika virus disease

After a comprehensive review of available data, a scientific consensus has to say that Zika virus is the cause of microcephaly and cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome. Intense efforts are continuing to study, within a framework of rigorous research, the link between this virus and a number of neurological disorders.


Zika virus is transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito, primarily Aedes aegypti, in the tropics. These mosquitoes bite during the day in general, with a peak of activity in the early morning and in late afternoon and early evening.
These mosquitoes also transmit dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever. Zika virus transmission through sex is also possible. We are currently investigating other routes of transmission, blood transfusions, for example.


One suspects the Zika virus infection based on the symptoms and recent travel history (eg the fact of living in an area where we know that the virus is present or for going there). Diagnosis can be confirmed by laboratory analysis of blood or other body fluids, such as urine, saliva or semen.


The Zika virus disease is usually relatively mild and requires no specific treatment. Affected individuals need much rest, drink enough and take common drugs against pain and fever. If symptoms worsen, they should visit a doctor. There is currently no vaccine.


Mosquito bites
Protection against mosquito bites is an essential measure for the prevention of Zika virus infection.
To achieve this, we can apply repellents, wear clothing (preferably light colored) covering as much as possible the body, install physical barriers such as insect screens, close doors and windows, sleeping under mosquito nets, and using repellents containing DEET, IR3535 or the icaridin following the instructions on the product label.
Particular attention should be paid to those who may not be able to protect themselves effectively, such as young children, the sick or the elderly. Travelers and people living in affected areas should take basic precautions described above to protect themselves from mosquitoes
It is also important to empty or clean all potential breeding (nesting) mosquitoes as buckets, cans, flower pots, gutters or old tires. Communities need to support the efforts of local authorities to reduce mosquito density in their locality. Health authorities can also advise to make insecticide sprays.

sexual transmission

Zika virus can be transmitted through sexual intercourse. It is a worrying fact because of the association between Zika virus infection and adverse pregnancy outcomes or adverse fetal outcomes.
In active transmission areas of Zika virus, everyone infected with HIV and their sexual partners (especially pregnant women) should be informed of the risks of sexual transmission.
WHO recommends properly advise men and sexually active women and give them access to a full range of contraceptive methods so that they can make an informed choice about whether to conceive a child and when to do it, to avoid any adverse pregnancy outcome or adverse fetal outcomes.
Women who have had unprotected sex and do not want to get pregnant for fear of Zika virus infection must have easy access to emergency contraception and counseling services associated. Pregnant women should practice safer sex (including through the correct use and consistent condom) or abstain from any report for at least the duration of their pregnancy.
In areas without active transmission Zika, WHO recommends that men and women who traveled in areas of active transmission of having safe sex or abstain from any report for 6 months to avoid spread infection through sexual intercourse. Sexual partners of pregnant women who live or have traveled to areas where the Zika virus spreads locally must have safe sex or abstain from any report throughout pregnancy.

WHO action

WHO helps countries to stem the Zika virus disease by applying the measures outlined in the Strategic Response Framework:
  • define the necessary research on the Zika virus disease and establish a priority on bringing together experts and partners;
  • strengthen surveillance of Zika virus and potential complications;
  • strengthen communication skills concerning risks to engage communities to better understand the risks associated with the Zika virus;
  • strengthen the capacity of laboratories to detect the virus;
  • help health authorities to implement vector control strategies to reduce populations of Aedes mosquitoes;
  • prepare recommendations for clinical care and monitoring of people with complications Zika virus, in collaboration with experts and other organizations working in the health field.

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