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Thousands of infants in Brazil are being diagnosed with a devastating birth defect
and medical researchers believe it might be linked to a mosquito borne virus.
So, what is this mysterious virus and how do we stop it?
Zika, a strange mosquito borne virus, is sweeping through many Central and South American countries.
Current estimates place the number of Zika cases at over a million in Brazil alone.
And in response to the outbreak the CDC has implemented two new travel bans, to an already large list,
for pregnant women, one on the United States Virgin Islands
and the other on the Dominican Republic.
The ban is for pregnant women specifically because since the epidemic started,
the incidences of microcephaly, a devastating birth defect, have skyrocketed.
Microcephaly is a condition where a baby is born with a small head. Because the head is so small in those born with the condition,
the brain is small too, meaning it’s underdeveloped. Which can cause a whole
range of other health issues like cognitive deficits, seizures, feeding problems, vision problems and hearing loss.
Unfortunately there’s no cure for the condition,
only treatments for its effects.
Microcephaly is typically seen in rates of about 2 in 10,000 births according to a study
published in the journal Birth Defects Research (Part A). But nearly 4,000 cases have been
reported in Brazil since October, that’s nearly 26 times the normal rate. And researchers
strongly suspect that the birth defect is linked to the Zika virus.
Now this epidemic seemed to have come out of nowhere. The mosquito that carries the virus,
was pretty much eradicated in Brazil in the 1950s.
But as the decades wore on, it made its way back.
Then last year reports of Zika in Brazil started popping up.
It wasn’t taken too seriously, since its symptoms in adult are mild, just things like a fever or a rash.
It wasn’t until the rate of Microcephaly shot up that the world started to take notice.
Now the battle against Zika is underway, and one that Brazil is badly losing, according to the health minister.
And it is literally a battle, 220,000 members of the armed forces are going door to door to help in the current mosquito eradication efforts.
But it’s not just Brazil, Zika has been reported in 24 regions around the world
mostly in tropical areas.
Each country is issuing warnings, some seem extreme.
For instance, the government of El Salvador told women to avoid pregnancy for two years!
As for the zika virus itself, there’s no treatment, vaccine, or cure.
The CDC says the best way to avoid the virus, is to avoid mosquito bites.
Now, experts say that a US outbreak is unlikely to occur.
They believe that most cases will happen to those who travel to Brazil and other affected countries. But this summer tons of
But this summer tons of people will descend on Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Games.
Which some experts are calling “a perfect dissemination vehicle for Zika.”
If people travel to Brazil, get zika from a mosquito bite,
then return home and get bitten there, the zika virus could transfer to the local mosquito population.
Which would mean that there is the potential for localized outbreaks in other parts of the world.
Zika is just one of the many viruses and diseases that mosquitos carry.
To find out why they are such good carriers of disease, check out this video right here.
Most mosquitos actually fight malaria with their immune responses to parasites.
After mosquitos sucks up its bloody meal, a peritrophic matrix or barrier forms inbetween the bugs lining of their midgate and their blood.
So what are you make of this recent outbreak? What precautions would you take to avoid mosquito bites.
Tell us down in the comments below, don’t forget to hit those Like and Subscribe buttons.
And keep coming back to DNews so you won’t miss a single episode.



【新聞時事】到底什麼是茲卡病毒? (The Devastating Zika Virus Explained)

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richardwang 發佈於 2016 年 2 月 15 日    Yu-Chun Chang 翻譯    Kristi Yang 審核
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