Latin American countries are now once again in the spotlight due to another worldwide concern. This time, it is a health related problem that has now been causing an alarm across the Latin American communities. Now, the western hemisphere is now on its highest alert due to the emergence of a former stagnant communicable disease that is affecting millions of patients. Not only the entire western hemisphere, Europeans, Asians, Africans, and the people of Oceania are now bracing for a new health threat that comes from Latin American countries.

Zika virus is considered the most feared viral infection in 2016. It mainly affected Latin American countries in particular to Brazil. As Olympic qualifiers are now starting to organize their sports events, numerous athletes were starting to decline, fearing for the risk of being infected with the virus. Zika virus is mostly asymptomatic until the person exhibits signs and symptoms that are indicating the presence of the disease. The virus is now spreading in the tropical areas of Asia, in particular to Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, and now in the Philippine islands.
Zika Virus
The public has been erratic about the emergence of this particular disease; however, the virulence is not as deadly as dengue or ebola fever. The disease mostly affects developing embryo Zika virus has been blamed for the development of microcephaly, which is a condition affecting the formation of the baby's brain. This is referred as having a smaller head than the normal skull in normal babies who were not infected. Health agencies from around the world are now trying to solve the growing threat of the disease that is now rapidly spreading. The World Health Organization is fearful that the number of morbidity cases will rise due to lack of knowledge, undetected symptoms, and lack of health care interventions to affected parts of the world.

During the 2016 Olympics in August, Brazil is considered the most affected nation because it is where it registered the largest numbers of morbidity and some mortality cases. The rate of morbidity is already rising to an alarming rate, prompting the Olympic Committee to be pressured to delay the date of the event sometime in the future due to the risk of exposure to the athletes. Several athletes are believed to be unknowingly infected as well as international tourists who came to South America to watch athletes show their athletic skills in Brazil.

Zika virus is potentially harmful that affects infants and children because the virus usually attacks developing systems, in particular to the nervous system of the person. Pregnant women are advised to take precautionary measures because when they contract the disease, the unborn child will develop complications that can be irreversible in nature. Zika virus may not be harmful to adults, but it is very harmful to the younger generations from the unborn child to school-aged children.

What is Zika Virus?

Zika virus is the pathognomonic agent or the main causative microorganism that is causing Zika Fever. The disease is related to Japanese encephalitis, yellow fever, dengue fever, and West Nile virus. Complications of the disease are considerably milder than the related diseases, but scientists are still trying to find out more health threats and risks associated with the disease. Although the effects are quite milder, the disease is still considered as dangerous because it affects all growing fetus as well as pregnant mothers. This is due to the potential hazards and threats that could impact the neurological system of the patients infected by the disease.

With regards to the virology, Zika Virus species belongs to genus Flavivirus from family Flafifiridae of Group IV [(+) ssRNA]. The virus has an enveloped icosahedral single stranded and non-segmented and single-stranded positive RNA genome.The RNA of the virus can be translated into protein structures in a viral way. It has at least, three structural proteins combined with seven non-structural proteins. Incubation begins once the virus have already entered the blood stream of the host, which is either human or animal patients. The virus will then introduce its reproductive phase when integrating its RNA through its transcriptase protein to a host cell in order to start replicating.


In 1947, the first reported case was in Zika forest in Uganda where health experts and researchers adapted its name. From Africa, the disease gradually spread across the equatorial regions in the African continent. After few decades, Zika fever was then reported to reach some parts of Asia and Latin American continents. Oceania experienced isolated cases, specifically in New Caledonia, Cook Islands, French Polynesia, Caribbean, Papua New Guinea, and in Micronesia.

When Zika virus spread towards Asia, mutation took place that created two different types of Zika lineage. Asian lineage is concentrated in Asia, Oceania, and in North America. African lineage is concentrated in Africa, Europe, and Latin America. Colder areas are not likely to be affected by the spread of the virus due to an inability of mosquitoes to survive when exposed to extreme cold weather.

Mode of transmission

1. Vector: Zika fever is mainly transmitted through a mosquito bite. Aedes Agypti is the main carrier for the virus that can transmit to its victims. The mosquito can either infect both animal or human host where females need blood in order to help incubate its babies before laying them into a stagnant clear water. Aedes Agypti usually bites during the daytime. These insects prefer to fly on a lower ground level as compared to other species of mosquitoes.

2. Sexual transmission: Zika virus can be transmitted through sexual contact when an infected partner leaks their infected body fluids with their uninfected partner. Males are usually the carriers because the virus incubates inside male's reproductive organs for at least 10 weeks or more. They can pass the virus to their victims when they produce an infected fluid to their partners.

3. Pregnancy: Zika virus can be easily transmitted during pregnancy when the infected mother easily transmits the virus to their unborn child. This occurs when the mother had been bitten by an infected mosquito, the virus easily replicates inside the bloodstream that can be transported directly towards the baby. The virus will then seek refuge inside the fetus body until such time that the virus causes complications to the baby's body.

4. Blood transmission: Zika virus can be transmitted when the infected blood will be administered towards an uninfected individual. This can be through blood transmission. Blood products that were not screened could likely harmful for uninfected patients needing an immediate blood donation. This usually occurs in unsanitary clinics or hospitals.

Signs and symptoms

Hours after being bitten by an infected mosquito, a patient starts to suffer from a mild headache due to the body's reaction to a foreign body as a way to defend it from further infection. A maculopapular rash is present all over the body due to the reaction of macrophages and histamine reaction from the presence of a virus. Conjunctivitis and joint pains are also present all over the body that could be felt for few days, depending on the metabolism and immunity of the patient. All symptoms can be attributed to dengue fever, yellow fevers, and Japanese encephalopathy.

Complications: Zika virus is now being thought to be responsible for causing neurologic problems towards patients. This includes microcephaly for newborn infants because the virus has been concentrating on invading soft tissues along the neurological system of the baby. Scientists and researchers are now studying neurological diseases and complications brought about by the invasion of Zika virus in the body.


Since there are still no exact medication or vaccine that is available at present, rehabilitation and preventive management are applied for infected patients. This includes allowing the patient to have a total bed rest in order to rehabilitate their body's energy level. Prescribing patients with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs aims to reduce the number of rashes all over their body due to histamine formation will be eased. Paracetamol or any antipyretic drugs are also given so that the patient will be able to lower their body temperature to a normal level from being febrile. Aspirin is also prescribed in order to relieve other discomforts of the body.

Educative management is advised and always being advised by health care professionals. This can be made through bedside care health teachings in order to ensure that the person can further understand about their medical condition. It is important to let the patient understand more about the mode of transmission of the disease as well as with the complications once that they have already contracted the disease. Patients should report any suspected cases that could indicate any signs and symptoms that are being felt.

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