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The Zika virus has been causing quite a stir over the past year, despite having been around since 1947. A scholarly article published last week in The Lancet estimates that there are 2.6 billion people living within the danger zone of the Zika virus.
Until recently, the primary concern with the Zika virus came from pregnant women, as the virus is known to cause microcephaly, severe brain malformations, and other birth defects. A newer concern comes as researchers are discovering a high occurrence of Zika and Guillain-Barre syndrome, a serious condition affecting the peripheral nervous system.
One Third of the World in Danger
The number being reported from The Lancet is staggering: 2.6 billion people is over one third of the world population. Additionally, the report points out that the Zika virus is affecting the nations with the highest populations, including India, China, Philippines, and Thailand. While China and India have solid infrastructures in place, the sheer size of these nations creates a strain on finite resources that are needed to help control the spread. Because of the manner of transmission, either via mosquito or sexual transmission, researches are concerned that the virus could spread faster than anticipated if the right conditions are present.
The new concern about the correlation with Guillain-Barre syndrome may help to bring more attention to the matter as well as more funding for research. The type of mosquito that carries the virus is one that is found worldwide, so the efforts to combat this virus are significant for the world community.
Is There a Cure?
Unfortunately, there is currently no cure or vaccine for the Zika virus. The CDC has issued travel warnings for nearly 50 different countries. The Zika fever, as it is called, most often will have imperceptible or very mild symptoms. The symptoms include fever, red eyes, joint pain, headache and rash, which can last for about a week. Detection requires testing fluid samples while an infected person is symptomatic.
Numerous researchers and companies are working to develop a vaccine for the Zika virus. Inovio Pharmaceuticals is the first company to get to the first phase of human trials for testing a Zika vaccine.
Given the potentially serious consequences of the Zika virus, it's inevitable that liability issues will arise. If you have been injured by Zika, you may have a legal claim.