A brief look into the history of the Zika virus
The virus was first recorded in rhesus monkeys in Uganda, East Africa in 1947. In 1952, it was identified once again in people living in Uganda and Tanzania. Since then, sporadic cases have been recorded in Africa, the Americas, Asia, and the Pacific.
The first documented Zika outbreak was in 2007 in Yap Island in the Federated States of Micronesia. In October 2013, French Polynesia also reported a large outbreak, which spread to the other Pacific Islands.
In March 2015, Brazil reported a large outbreak of rash illness, which was later found to be a Zika virus infection. By October 2015, Brazil was able to identify an association between the Zika virus and microcephaly. At present, 86 countries have reported evidence of mosquito-transmitted Zika infections.
Signs and symptoms
For the Zika virus, the incubation period, or the time from exposure to the virus until symptoms manifest, has been estimated to be between 3 to 14 days. Usually, people infected with the virus don’t get sick at all or develop symptoms, but if they do, these are generally mild. These symptoms are:
- Muscle and joint pain
- Red eyes without pus
They typically last for 2 to 7 days. Rarely, people infected with the Zika virus could develop Guillain-Barré syndrome, a neurological condition of extreme muscle weakness and paralysis. It has been found that a Zika virus infection can act as a trigger for this disorder.