The Zika Virus is in the world’s headlines. It burst onto the world consciousness recently when thousands of babies in Brazil were born with abnormally small heads. Many of the newborns are healthy, but will require lifetime support. Not all micro encephalic babies survive. When an investigation of one deceased child was performed, the virus was found in its brain.
Previously the Zika Virus was thought to be a relatively harmless invader that caused a mild reaction. Many people that had been infected were not aware of the virus in their blood stream.
There’s more bad news about this emerging health problem.
Zika is present in other South American countries as well. The health minister in Columbia is sounding the alarm about Guillain-Barre Syndrome(GBS). The virus is implicated in triggering the auto immune reaction that can cause paralysis, and in some cases, death.
Normally few people present with GBS. Columbia is reporting hundreds of cases linked to Zika.
“In the past week we have seen a substantial increase in the number of people reported with Guillain-Barré,” said health minister Alejandro Gaviria, referring to a rare syndrome that causes a person’s own immune system to damage nerve cells, leading to muscle weakness and sometimes, paralysis.” The Guardian
WHO has declared the emerging Zika viral disease a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern”.
The disease caused by the virus is known to spread by mosquitoes, but there is some anecdotal evidence that it can be passed human to human via body fluids. In Canada, the organization responsible for the blood banks has announced new regulations regarding donations from people suspected of exposure.
Originally identified in Africa in 1947, the virus has now spread throughout Africa, the Middle East, India, SE Asia and Pacific Islands as well as S. America and Central America. At this time, countries that have cold winters seem to be immune to the mosquito that spreads the virus.
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
Blogger, gardener, farmer. Working toward food security and a 30 foot
diet. Addicted to reading. Love this planet, especially my little corner
on Vancouver Island, Canada