Recently there have been a number of articles about the spreading of the Zika virus from Asia to the Americas. The World Health Organization has issued a number of increasingly alarming notices about Zika and the media is filled with reports of impending crises with the disease’s spread through the Americas. It’s important, first, to understand the facts about the Zika virus and then to consider its impact on us here in Asia and China.
What is the Zika virus?
First discovered in 1947 in Uganda, the Zika virus is commonly found in Africa and Asia. It is a mosquito‐transmitted infection related to dengue, yellow fever and West Nile virus.
Symptoms and Treatment
The infection generally causes no symptoms and leads to no lasting harm. It is estimated that only one in five cases develop any symptoms and hospitalization is not indicated. There is no widely available test for the Zika virus. Scientific concern is focused on women who become infected while pregnant and those who develop a temporary form of paralysis after exposure to the virus. Based on a surge of cases in Brazil, there is an unconfirmed possibility that the Zika virus causes microcephaly. However, this suspicion falls in the category of speculation at this time and it may be that other factors are contributing to the rise. In Asia and China, there have been no confirmed cases of microcephaly related to the Zika virus.
If you live in Asia and China, should you be concerned?
You should not be concerned unless you are pregnant and have recently visited a country with the Zika virus. In this case, it is best if you consult with your physician. If you live in Asia and China there is little to no risk.