First infected case of mosquito-borne Zinka virus recorded in the US

Jan 18, 2016 12:09 IST

A mosquito-borne virus called Zinka was in news in the third week of January 2016. It was found that the virus is spreading rapidly through the American continent.

The first case was confirmed in Texas, USA in January 2016 when a traveler returning from Latin America.

The disease caused by this virus is not fatal and lasts up to a week, but it was identified that there is a possible link between the virus and a birth defect called microcephaly that causes babies to be born with abnormally small heads and potential developmental problems. 

About Zinka virus

• It is a virus that can make people sick with rash, fever, joint pain, and pinkeye, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

• It is related to other mosquito-borne illnesses including Dengue and Chikungunya that are considered rising threats as global travel increases their reach.

• It can be transmitted when someone with the virus is bitten by a mosquito and then that mosquito bites another human.

• The virus can move to new areas when mosquitoes hitch a ride on travelers or cargo, or when infected patients travel to new territory and are bitten by mosquitoes there.

• The Zika virus was first identified in Uganda in 1947.

• For a long time it was an obscure disease with only occasional infections in humans.

• According to an article in the New England Journal of Medicine in January 2015, it moved through Africa and Asia to Pacific islands.

• The virus reached Brazil in 2015. It's now spread throughout Latin America. The first locally-transmitted case in Puerto Rico was identified in December 2015.

• The WHO lists 13 countries in the Americas including Puerto Rico.

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