Transmitted by mosquitoes such as dengue and chikungunya, Zika virus, which has been the subject of a genetic decryption by Institut Pasteur is a threat to human health although the infection often goes unnoticed.
This virus was identified for the first time in Uganda in 1947 in a monkey. It takes its name from a forest south of Kampala, the capital.
Zika belongs to the same family Flaviviridae that the dengue virus and yellow fever. The first human cases of Zika fever was reported in 1968, according to World Health Organization (WHO).
Just as dengue and chikungunya, two other tropical infections, Zika is transmitted through bites Aedes aegypti mosquitoes and tiger mosquitoes (Aedes albopictus). Insect bite a sick person, undertake in the virus and then infect healthy people.
What are the symptoms?
In the vast majority of cases (70-80%), infection goes unnoticed. When speaking, the symptoms are flu-like (fever, headache, body aches) with rashes.
The Zika may also manifest as conjunctivitis or pain behind the eyes, and by swelling of the hands or feet.
Are there complications?
No deaths by Zika virus have been listed, according to the American organization CDC surveillance and prevention of diseases.
But two types of severe complications have been described, neurological complications and malformations on fetuses of female patients, which “encourages vigilance outbreak of Zika “according to the French Ministry of Health.
Neurological complications syndrome type of Guillain-Barré, autoimmune disease that results in weakness or progressive paralysis of the limbs have been described in Brazil and French Polynesia, according to the National Institute of Health Surveillance (VS).
Furthermore, microcephaly (abnormally small skull size) and abnormalities of brain development were observed in fetuses and new born pregnant mothers during epidemics of Zika Polynesia and Brazil.
Which treatment, which vaccine?
There is no specific cure or vaccine for any time against this virus. The only treatment is to reduce pain by analgesics.
To protect yourself, avoid being bitten by mosquitoes, using loose clothing, repellents, insecticides and mosquito nets .
Pregnant women should be especially vigilant. A sick person should absolutely avoid getting bitten to stop the disease transmission cycle.
Where rampant Zika?
After being reported in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, since the disease reached the Americas in 2015 with Brazil as the main country affected.
Altogether a dozen countries were infected early in 2016 in Latin America and the Caribbean. In December 2015, the first cases were recorded in Guyana and Martinique.
The installation of the tiger mosquito in Southern Europe makes perfectly possible in the future outbreak of Zika this continent, particularly in France between May and November, says the French Ministry of Health.