Dengue, West Nile Virus, Chikungunya Infected Western Hemisphere; Now It’s Zika Virus

Posted: Jan 14 2016, 2:40pm CST | by , in News | Latest Science News

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Dengue was the main health threats of the Western Hemisphere in the early 1990s even though it sneaked into the region over decades, and then the West Nile virus surfaced in 1999, followed by chikungunya in 2013; now it is the Zika virus that is threatening the United States.

This was published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

These are arthropod-borne viral diseases, and it begs the question of whether the four diseases are related in any way or whether their successive emergence indicates a significant manner of disease manifestations.

Arthropod-borne viral diseases are also known as “arbovirus,” and the term refers to hundreds of RNA virus that are spread by mosquitoes and ticks among other arthropods. Virus infected arthropods carry the arboviruses and they sustain the disease by feeding on mammals or via blood-sucking carriers.

Zika virus was discovered in 1947 in Uganda by accident while researchers were studying mosquitoes and primates of interest; the disease was limited in spread to Africa and Asia but has now jumped boundaries via wild primates and arboreal mosquitoes and finding its way to the Western Hemisphere.

Many of these fatal diseases are transmitted by mosquitoes such as the Aedes africanus which spreads Zika virus; culex-species mosquitoes transmit the West Nile virus; the A. aegypti causes the deadly yellow fever disease; and the A. albopictus mosquitoes have also been fingered in these diseases or more.

Since health experts have been conducting surveillance on the disease for close to 60 years, they have not observed Zika as causing hemorrhagic fever or death, even though its main features are denguelike symptoms such as eye pain, muscle aches, fever, maculopapular rash and prostration among others.

It has not been too easy for medical experts to diagnose dengue and chikungunya due to insufficient test techniques, neither has a foolproof diagnostic method been discovered for Zika. But since Zika manifests sometimes like dengue, related tests may reveal either of the viruses.

This research was carried out by researchers from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Bethesda, Maryland.

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The Author

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/52" rel="author">Charles I. Omedo</a>
Charles is covering the latest discoveries in science and health as well as new developments in technology. He is the Chief Editor or Intel-News.




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