Zika Virus: An Emerging Worldwide Threat

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Rather, Irfan A. ; Lone, Jameel B. ; Bajpai, Vivek K. ; Paek, Woon K. ; Lim, Jeongheui (2017)

ZIKA virus (ZIKV) poses a severe threat to the world. Recent outbreaks of ZIKV after 2007 along with its quick transmission have made this virus a matter of international concern. The virus shows symptoms that are similar to those caused in the wake of dengue virus (DENV) and other flaviviruses, which makes it difficult to discern the viral infection. Diagnosis is further complicated as the virus cross-reacts with antibodies of other viruses. Currently, molecular diagnosis of the virus is being performed by RT-PCR and IgM-captured enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (MAC-ELISA). The real brunt of the virus is, however, borne by children and adults alike. Case studies of the ZIKV outbreaks in the French Polynesia and other places have suggested that there is a close link between the ZIKV and Gullian-Barre syndrome (GBS). The GBS has closely followed in areas facing ZIKV outbreaks. Although solid evidence is yet to emerge, clinical data integration has revealed a large number of ZIKV patients having GBS. Moreover, the amniotic fluids, blood cord, and miscarriage tissues of mothers have been detected with ZIKV, which indicates that the virus either gets transferred from mother to fetus or seeks direct entry in the fetus, causing microcephaly and other brain anomalies in the newborn babies. Studies on mice have confirmed the link between the ZIKV infection during pregnancy and microcephaly in babies. Reports have highlighted the sexual transmission of the ZIKV, as it has been detected in the semen and saliva of affected persons. The intensity with which the ZIKA is spreading can collapse the health sector of several countries, which are poor. A comprehensive strategy is a need of an hour to combat this virus so as to prevent its transmission and avert the looming threat. At the same time, more research on the cure of the ZIKV is imperative.
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