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    Zika Virus – a spectre of a new pandemic?

    Zika Virus can cause a new pandemic due to only a small mutation. Warm climate countries are in danger. Zika virus is spread by daytime-active mosquitoes and its name comes from the Ziika Forest of Uganda, where it was isolated for the first time. The virus is known to mankind since 1947 but according to specialists from La Jolla USA, it could become a new threat, similar to SARS-CoV-2.

    The virus caused an epidemic in 2016 and has spread to America, Asia, and Europe. La Jolla specialists inform in Cell Reports that a new variant of the virus that could cause a new pandemic hasn’t been discovered yet, but a small mutation may be the issue of a new global pandemic.

    They proved this theory through the experiment conducted on mice using virus-infected mosquito cells. When Zika infiltrated the mice from these cells, genetic mutations easily developed. As a result, we know that it can mutate and spread even among animals immune to the diseases related to the virus, for example, dengue fever or tropical disease.

    The pathogen is mainly transmitted by mosquitoes but it can be also spread through sexual contact. Generally, it’s a mild infection with symptoms such as fever, rash, and joint pain in one in five infected people. Zika Virus is especially dangerous for pregnant women. 

     

    “The first trimester is the time where infection seems to be riskiest for the pregnancy.”, nbcnews.com reports. 

     

    Newborn babies can suffer from extensive brain damage and be born with a characteristically small head.

     

    How real the Zika mutation is? Prof. Jonath Ball from the University of Nottingham believes it is possible, especially comparing Zika Virus to SARS-CoV-2 that can mutate rapidly and create new variants. Zika Virus can also show such great variability.

     

    Prof. Paul Hunter of the University of East Anglia says the immunity obtained against dengue fever should at least partially protect against the new variant of the Zika virus.

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