Zika virus is spread to people through mosquito bites. The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting from several days to a week. Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon.
In May 2015, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) issued an alert regarding the first confirmed Zika virus infection in Brazil. The outbreak in Brazil led to reports of Guillain-Barré syndrome and pregnant women giving birth to babies with birth defects and poor pregnancy outcomes.
As the Zika virus outbreak continues, including in wide swaths of Central and South America, concerns are growing, especially for pregnant women because the mosquito-borne virus has been linked with a serious birth defect called microcephaly, characterized by an abnormally small head and brain.
Here are the latest updates about the outbreak, which the World Health Organization has deemed a “global health emergency.”
Puerto Rico Declares State of Emergency
Puerto Rico has declared a state of emergency due to the ongoing Zika virus outbreak. The U.S. territory has at least 22 people who have been reported to have been infected with the Zika virus, health officials said.
The State Emergency and Disaster Administration is creating a task force for both federal and state officials to deal with the crisis.
Additionally, a price freeze has been ordered for products needed to prevent the disease, according to government officials.
New Zika Virus Cases Include Pregnant Woman, Man With Paralysis Syndrome
In Puerto Rico, a pregnant woman in her first trimester was diagnosed with the disease, health officials said. In addition, a man has also been diagnosed with Zika and has developed a rare paralysis syndrome sometimes associated with viral or bacterial infection.
Called Guillain-Barre syndrome, it is an immunological reaction that has been associated with influenza, among other illnesses.
At least 22 people who have been reported to have been infected with the Zika virus in Puerto Rico, health officials said.
FDA Signals New Recommendations on Blood Transfusions Likely
In a statement to ABC News, officials from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said they intend to “rapidly implement appropriate donor deferral recommendations” to safeguard the donated blood supply in the U.S.
“Blood donor deferrals serve as an important measure to protect the United States’ blood supply,“ FDA officials said in a statement. "The FDA also intends to put in place recommendations to help maintain a safe blood supply in United States territories where the virus is present. In the meantime, we fully support the blood banking industry’s voluntary recommendations that potential blood donors be deferred for 28 days after returning from travel to areas where Zika is endemic.”
Sexually Transmitted Zika Case Prompts CDC to Issue New Guidelines
After the Zika virus was transmitted through sexual contact in Dallas, Texas, officials from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new guidelines today for travelers to and from outbreak regions.
The CDC advises men with a pregnant partner to use condoms if they have traveled to an area with "active Zika virus transmission.”
Additionally, couples where a male partner who has traveled to an area with Zika transmission “may consider using condoms consistently and correctly during sex or abstaining from sexual activity,” if they are concerned about sexual transmission of the Zika virus.
At Least 54 People Infected in the U.S.
There are at least 54 people infected with the Zika virus in the U.S. In all except one case, the infection was acquired while out of the country, according to health officials.
In one case in Dallas, Texas, the virus is believed to have been transmitted through sexual contact from an infected traveler to a partner.
Florida has the highest number of cases in the U.S., with 12 people infected. Florida Gov. Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency in five counties and ordered thousands of tests that will help identify the disease.
What Does the Virus Do?
Common symptoms of the Zika virus include fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Approximately one in five people infected with the virus show symptoms. Severe complications from the virus that require hospitalization are rare, according to the CDC.
The virus has also been associated with a rise of microcephaly birth defect cases.
The CDC is also investigating if a rare paralysis syndrome called Guillain-Barre is related to the virus. The syndrome is an immunological reaction that can also occur after other viral or bacterial infections.
How Is It Transmitted?
The virus is transmitted mainly through the bite of the Aedes aegypti species of mosquito. This is the same type of mosquito that spreads dengue fever. The Aedes albopictus species has also been identified as a potential carrier.
Before the current outbreak, the virus had been found mainly in tropical settings in Africa, Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands. An outbreak of the disease in Brazil led to an alert by the Pan American Health Organization last May.
“Why has the issue of patent ownership of the Zika virus not been the object of media coverage?
Lest we forget the words of David Rockefeller in an address to a Trilateral Commission meeting in June of 1991:
“We are grateful to the Washington Post, the New York
Times, Time Magazine and other great publications whose directors have
attended our meetings and respected their promises of discretion for
almost 40 years. … It would have been impossible for us to develop our
plan for the world if we had been subjected to the lights of publicity
during those years. But, the world is more sophisticated and prepared to
march towards a world government. The supernational sovereignty of an
intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the
national auto-determination practiced in past centuries.
”Is the ownership of the Zika Virus by the Rockefeller Foundation part
of that agenda of “supernational sovereignty [dominated] by an
intellectual elite and world bankers…”?“
Roddy spots the boat that was floating above him. Curious as to why such a small boat was doing so far away from shore. Cautiously Rodimus swims up to the boat. Slowly poking his head out the water and poking the side of the boat. Kup telling him to stay away from the boats but he was curious. He wanted to know why.
UN Human Rights Chief: To Battle Zika, Uphold Reproductive Rights of Women and Girls
Telling women not to get pregnant when ‘sexual and reproductive health
services are criminalized, or simply unavailable’ a failed reponse to
The United Nations human rights office has criticized the
recommendation by Zika-affected countries that women not become
pregnant, saying that response to the epidemic fails to address the
widespread and unjust denial of rights to women and girls.
The response by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein on Friday comes days after the World Health Organization declared the outbreaks of microcephaly in Latin America and their possible link to the Zika virus a global health emergency.
The virus, known as Zika, has rattled Latin America and
the Caribbean, particularly Brazil, where more than a million people
have been infected and nearly 4,000 children have been born with
microcephaly, a rare condition in which babies have unusually small
El Salvador has urged women not to get pregnant until 2018, and
Other nations around the region have issued warnings
similar to El Salvador’s, with officials in Colombia and Ecuador urging
women to put off becoming pregnant for months, or until the dangers of
the virus are better understood.
Echoing women’s rights campaigners
UN’s Zeid said that recommendation “ignores the reality that many women
and girls simply cannot exercise control over whether or when or under
what circumstances they become pregnant, especially in an environment
where sexual violence is so common.” He addressed what, as Paula Young
Lee writes in Dame
this week, has been the three-letter word missing from the warnings:
men. He stated, “Many of the key issues revolve around men’s failure to
uphold the rights of women and girls, and a range of strong measures
need to be taken to tackle these underlying problems.”….