The Zika virus is spreading vigorously in the Americas following which the WHO has issued a warning to all countries, including India, who have the vector of Aedes mosquito that causes Dengue and Chikungunya too.
The Zika virus is caused by the aggressive Aedes aegypti mosquito that also causes Dengue and Chikungunya, both viral diseases are of great public health concern to tropical countries like India.
The outbreak began in Brazil last year and has now spread to 24 countries in the Americas, causing serious birth defects and other neurological problems like microcephaly, a condition that causes babies to be born with an abnormally small head.
Dr Marcos Espinal, director of communicable diseases and health analysis at WHO, warned that Zika “will go everywhere the mosquito is. We should not wait for it to spread.”
Many American countries like El Salvador, Colombia and Ecuador have urged women to postpone pregnancy till 2018.
There are no vaccines, specific treatments, and rapid diagnostic tests, available to combat the virus. However, many countries that had the outbreak of a Zika virus, like Colombia, have not yet reported cases of microcephalis and Guillain-Barre syndrome.
There are currently four categories of countries globally: one, countries who have the virus as well as the birth malformations, like Brazil, two, countries only with the virus, like Colombia, three, countries, like India, who have the vector, and four, countries like Chile and Canada who do not have the vector.
The Zika virus was first detected in 1947 from a monkey in the Zika forest of Uganda.