The summer months in South America bring out more than pretty women is dental-floss type bikinis. The mosquito population in South American countries can be overwhelming especially in rural areas where there are thousands, if not millions, of breeding grounds for the Aedes aegypti mosquito. The Aedes aegypti mosquito is responsible for spreading the Zika virus as well as the dengue and chikungunya viruses. The Zika virus isn’t new, but the strain of virus in Brazil is new, according to a recent post on the Dr. Cortes official website.
Dr. Cortes is a medical expert for Brazil’s Ministry of Health, and he has been involved in trying to answers some of the questions that researchers are asking about the virus. It appears the virus is spreading to other South American countries faster than a speeding bullet, and Colombia seems to be the second hardest hit country after Brazil. More than 26,000 Colombians have the virus, and the government expects more than 100,000 more cases before the end of June. Cortes says those numbers are only the reported cases. There are thousands of cases that are never reported, according to the Brazilian doctor.
There are more than 3,100 women in Colombia that have the Zika virus. Dr. Sergio Cortes recently said those women may deliver babies with microcephaly. Microcephaly is a condition that produces babies with abnormally small heads and underdeveloped brains. Most of those babies have very short lives.
A Brazilian research team recently discovered a connection between the Zika virus and microcephaly, but the scientists aren’t sure why some babies are born with microcephaly and other are normal. More research is needed to determine why the virus finds its way into the amniotic fluid of just some pregnant women and not other women. Dr. Cortes has information about microcephaly on his LinkedIn page.
There are more questions about how the Zika virus acts when it enters the human body. Scientist now know it doesn’t act the same way in all humans. The virus has been found in the salvia of most infected people, but it may not show in their blood. The virus is also found in semen, but the researchers don’t known if the virus is transmitted through sexual contact. But there has been at least two reports that the virus did spread that way.