Zika virus is a flavivirus that is transmitted by the Aedes mosquito bites or by sexual contact. At first, the WHO reported Zika virus circulation among 38 countries, especially in Latin America, but recently Zika virus has been spreading in Southeast Asia as well. The treatment for this infection is based in supportive care and rest, adequate oral hydration and controlling symptoms such as fever and pain with acetaminophen.
In most patients Zika virus infection causes a mild and self-limited disease that resemble other flaviviruses infections (dengue, chikungunya) with symptoms like fever, maculopapular rash, arthralgias and conjunctivitis. Some complications have been reported including Guillain-Barré syndrome; but the greatest concern about this infection rises when Zika virus infects pregnant woman and pass to the fetus producing congenital malformations in the baby.
Recently, the CDC defined the Congenital Zika Syndrome which describes the congenital anomalies in newborns whose mothers were infected during pregnancy; these anomalies are: severe microcephaly, brain anomalies (cerebral cortex thinning and subcortical calcifications among others), ocular abnormal findings (cataracts, optic nerve hypoplasia/atrophy …), congenital contractures (reduced mobility of multiple joints) and neurological impairments (motor disabilities, cognitive disabilities, swallowing dysfunction, vision and hearing impairments …).
At present, there is no vaccine available to prevent Zika virus infection, however human trials of the Zika Purified Inactivated Virus (ZPIV) vaccine are taking place. For preventing the infection the CDC advises that all people in areas where Zika virus is spreading should wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, use insect repellents and stay/sleep in screened-in or air-conditioned rooms, or if not possible sleep under a mosquito bed net. The CDC also recommends regular use of condoms, especially during pregnancy and pregnant women are especially exhorted to avoid travelling to areas with ongoing Zika virus infection.