Zika Virus: A Historical Overview of Its Global Presence - Essay Sample

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1857 Words
Date:  2023-03-27


The Zika virus is a disease that first got identified in 1947 on Ugandan monkeys (Weldon et al., 2018). In 1952, it was realized in the people of Uganda and the Republic of Tanzania (Weldon et al., 2018). Since then, the infectious virus has been identified in areas like the pacific, Asia, Africa, and America (Chakhtoura et al., 2018). There were rare traces of the Zika Virus in people of Asia and Africa from 1960 to the 1980s. Small sicknesses often followed these cases in affected individuals. On the island of Yap 2007, Zika Virus outbreak first got recorded (Plourde & Bloch, 2016). Later in 2013, there was a massive epidemic of this infection in French Polynesia among other regions of the pacific (Noorbakhsh et al., 2019). It was until 2015 that there was another occurrence in Brazil, and this time its association with Guillain-Barre syndrome was found. The evidence of the infection has been spreading through America and Africa and the rest of the world (Lowe et al. 2018). Currently, according to WHO, there are 86 regions that get identified with mosquitos that transmit the Zika virus (Kobres et al., 2019).

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It was until 1947 that the Zika Virus was identified from a monkey that was undergoing a study for yellow fever. The body of this sentinel rhesus macaque had been placed in the Ugandan Zika forest. The infection had since gone unrecognized for over 70 years (Plourde & Bloch, 2016). In one year, this virus was already spreading in Brazil, and it rapidly moved through the rest of America. Historically, it became the first disease whose infection caused congenital disabilities and pregnancy complications. Its impact generated global concerns, which led the World Health Organization to call for a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (Kobres et al., 2019). The disease did not only cause alarm due to its impacts but the rate at which it gets spread (Petersen et al., 2016). Humans can also transmit to each other through blood and fluids exchange.

After the 2007 outbreak of Zika Virus in Brazil, a lot of research has been conducted to understand its dynamics. In Santa Helena Hospital of Camacari, 24 patients gave out a serum sample for the study (Chakhtoura et al., 2018). Those who were considered were the ones with a diagnosis of acute viral infection. The emergency department physicians conducted the relevant tests to ensure their possible diagnosis was correct. These patients received dengue treatment before samples got collected. These clinicians aimed to rule out other diseases that had similar symptoms (Weilg et al., 2018). The detection of this virus was not simultaneous as those affected were mostly women and children of different years. None of them had a history of international travel. A large number of those who tested positive with the Zika Virus had been seeking medical attention for headaches and rashes.

During the outbreak of Zika Virus in French Polynesia, there was a patient from Tahiti who was seeking medical attention for hematospermia. The doctors, however, after conducting some tests, were able to isolate Zika from his semen. From this, the suspicions of this infection getting transmitted through sexual contact got confirmed. Hence, an individual did not only have to get bitten by a mosquito to get the disease. The patient in question had several symptoms of Zika asthenia, arthralgia, fever, and headaches. He, however, did not seek treatment immediately after getting infected, which made it impossible for doctors to collect biological samples. The patient disclosed that he had not had any contact with a person who had Zika Infection (Musso et al. 2015). After numerous sample collection, the results were negative in blood and positive in semen.

In 2015, the Caribbean and South America experienced the Zika Virus epidemic. The primary concern of this illness was its increased rates of microcephaly, which occurred in children born from infected mothers (Plourde & Bloch, 2016). A mother living in Brazil had mild sickness with rushes during her first pregnancy trimester. At 29 weeks, she had an ultrasound of the fetus. It confirmed microcephaly calcifications both in the fetus placenta and brain. The mother immediately requested for termination. With an autopsy of the fetal body, it got discovered that the mind was abnormally small, among other development issues observed. In its brain, the Zika genome got recovered (Mlakar et al. 2016). It was them known that mothers could easily transit the Zika infection through their placenta to the baby.

Zika virus is closely related to dengue disease. Just like it, the illness is a mosquito-borne. The dengue virus is most common among these infections (Plourde & Bloch, 2016). It also has negative impacts on pregnancies like Zika. The disease is spreading first and reaching many geographical locations worldwide (Weilg et al., 2018). The outcomes of dengue during pregnancies is not as adverse as the one caused by Zika. Its effects are maximum during the acute periods between ten to twenty days after infection (Weilg et al., 2018). At this stage, both mother and child can suffer significant health issues. The pregnancy also gets risk, and a miscarriage of stillbirth could get experienced. The magnitude of damage heightens according to the duration of the association between the pregnancy and the virus (Paixao, 2019). Those caring for these individuals should take extra care to prevent or intervene on time.

Over the last 20 years, there have been minimal viral infections threatening southern and Central America. However, with the arrival of Zika disease, the united states, among others in the western hemisphere are facing this new pandemic. Zika virus comes just after dengue illness, which occurred decades ago and slowly spread to the rest of the world. The most affected regions by this disease are Africa and Asia. It has been predominantly circulating through primitives and rarely got identified in humans until 1947(Plourde & Bloch, 2016). Currently, with the high rate of human migration, the virus has managed to not only reach America but has covered all regions of the world. The phenomenon has caused concerns, given that this illness has no known treatment (Fauci & Morens, 2016). It hence continues to spread, and all individuals can do is deploy preventive measures.

Since the Zika virus was identified in Brazil in 2015, its impacts on birth and pregnancy outcomes also got realized. Various surveys linked it to brain development abnormalities in a fetus. The cases used to obtain relevant findings were of prenatal development of infants who portrayed certain defects (Plourde & Bloch, 2016). Those children who got infected with Zika during pregnancies had this virus in their brain tissues. It was due to these genomes that these children had a smaller mind, among other abnormalities. However, the degree of damage Zika virus could expose these children to relative to pregnancy stages remain unknown (Ophir & Jamieson, 2020). The factors that could also accelerate these adverse outcomes are also unknown. If these two aspects are determined, they will come in handy in preventing further damage to pregnancies due to this virus. Given that there is no cure, mothers and infants continue to be at risk (Rasmussen et al., 2016). Their only hope for safety is prevention.

It was not until the 2013-2014 French Polynesia Zika epidemic that the first-ever non-vector borne transmission got reported (Plourde & Bloch, 2016). In this region, an individual did not necessarily need to get bitten by the causing mosquito for infection. Due to the increasing cases of microcephaly, local physicians raised concerns that led to the virus getting declared as a health emergency. It got feared that the disease could continue to spread and infect all members of the public. Without any treatment option, individuals were at high risk. The only medical help that they got was in the form of pain killers for symptoms like headaches (Plourde & Bloch, 2016). After an investigation by the World Health Organization, the condition was found to have been causing infant neurological disorder. It did affect not only neonates but also adults through brain structure complications (Baud et al., 2017). There is a lot of knowledge gap in the Zika virus, especially concerning treatment options.

When Zika was first discovered, physicians could only link it to mosquito bites. However, individuals in areas where these insects are rare to keep getting infected. (Ophir & Jamieson, 2020) From various studies, there has been a clear indication of this virus to have been transmitted through sexual means. Zika was recently detected in a semen sample of an individual sixty-two days after symptoms started occurring (Noorbakhsh et al., 2019). A woman who did not live in a region not prone to Zika portrayed its symptoms. She confirmed to have had relations with a man who had been to Brazil where Zika is most rampant. She had also never traveled to areas that the infection exists hence limited chances of these mosquito bites. Thus, by confirmation of having this disease, it was clear that she had gotten infected as a result of sexual interactions (D'Ortenzio et al. 2016).


Zika Virus is a disease caused by a viral infection that gets transmitted by Aedes Mosquitos (Chakhtoura et al., 2018). The symptom of Zika Virus varies with the age of the patients. The signs and symptoms include fever, headache, joint and muscle pain, rash, and conjunctivitis, among others (Chakhtoura et al., 2018). These signs last between two to seven days. The condition is usually critical, given that most of the individuals with it hardly develop any symptoms. The disease is worse during pregnancy since children could be born with a risk of developing congenital malformations (Noorbakhsh et al., 2019). It could also cause preterm birth or a miscarriage in the worst-case scenario. For both adults and children, this virus increases the risk of complications like neuropathy, Guillain-Barre syndrome, and myelitis, among others. When a person gets exposed to this virus, they take three to fourteen days before any symptom can get identified (Cao-Lormeau et al. 2016). The most common areas where this disease is most prevalent are tropical and subtropical places.

Even though there is no known cure for the zika virus, infected people should get plenty of rest, drink enough fluids to avoid dehydration, take some medicine like acetaminophen for fever and pain reduction. They should also seek advice from the heal care provider before taking any medication. Since Zika is a newly emerging infectious disease, little information is known concerning the virus (Chakhtoura et al., 2018). Therefore, the project focuses on not only providing an overview of Zika Virus. The past few years have seen the Zika Virus become a global public concern because of the widespread transmission devastating consequences from children who are born with infected mothers.

The US center for disease control and prevention calls for public knowledge when it comes to prevention of mosquito bites, the use of preventive measures like a condom to avoid transmission of the Zika Virus, and what to do in the areas where the virus is highly evident. The study, therefore, aims at recommending the best ways to influence health behavior within the community. When the awareness is created adequately concerning the Zika Virus, the rate of spreading is likely to reduce because currently, many people are not educated on how to avoid getting infected with the virus and how to take precautionary measures against the Zika Virus (Noorbakhsh et al., 2019). More so, the research would determine w...

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Zika Virus: A Historical Overview of Its Global Presence - Essay Sample. (2023, Mar 27). Retrieved from https://proessays.net/essays/zika-virus-a-historical-overview-of-its-global-presence-essay-sample

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