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Incurable virus causing babies with shrunken heads spreads across globe alarmingly fast

zika virus

The Zika virus causes incurable consequences. The virus is already spreading too fast across the globe.

It is unknown why cases of the virus, which has been linked to a number of deaths and has no vaccine, has suddenly exploded in the past few years.

This week it made its way to Puerto Rico, which was the gateway to the US for other mosquito-borne diseases.

It has already spread across Mexico.

Scott Weaver, the director of the Institute for Human Infections and Immunity at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, said: “I think the Zika virus is going to be knocking on the doorstep in places like Florida and Texas probably in the spring or summer. It is spreading really fast.”

Alarmingly, it is thought to be transmitted by mosquitos, including Aedes albopictus, which is found as far north as the south of France in Europe.

Officials in Brazil estimate that 1.5million people were infected with Zika last year.

It was previously thought to be relatively harmless – giving the symptoms of Za rash, headaches, pain in the bones, and fever around three to 12 days after a mosquito bite.

But with more people getting it in Brazil, it has now been linked to causing the birth defect microcephaly which results in incomplete brain development and the affected child having a small head.

There have been previous cases of microcephaly in Brazil, but the around 300 a year average ballooned to 3,000 – 10 times as many last year.

Zika has now made it to India and Pakistan and parts of Africa, as far north as Egypt, prompting fears it could arrive in Europe through the stream of migrants from Africa and the Middle East.

The virus was discovered in the Zika Forest in Uganda in 1947, bout over the next 60 years, until 2007, there were just 20 documented cases in remote areas of the south Pacific Islands.

So what happened?

Researchers have speculated that it may have been brought to Brazil during the 2014 World Cup, and once in more densely populated areas, snowballed.

The flu-like symptoms usually clear within a week, but Brazilian health officials have linked it to seven cases of people who died from Guillain-Barré syndrome – a rare brain condition that attacks muscles and can paralysie sufferers.

They now fear in extreme cases Zika could cause Guilliain Barré syndrome in some people.

Officials fear Zika could spread into the US in the same way dengue fever did after first hitting Puerto Rico.

Global warming has been raised as a possible reason for the spread.

Heidi Brown, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Arizona, said: “The survival of the mosquito is driven a lot by temperature.”

“Mosquitoes thrive in warm and moist environments. So people go to the idea of global warming — that climate change and changes in precipitation patterns and temperature are helping mosquitoes survive in different areas.”


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