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Zika virus infection is caused by Zika virus that is spread to people through the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito. Zika virus was first discovered in 1947 and is named after the Zika forest in Uganda. In Malaysia, the first Zika virus infection was recorded back at Bentong, Pahang in 1969.
In Brazil, Zika virus infection in pregnant women has been linked to a birth defect known as microcephaly. It is a birth defect that halts the brain development in foetal, leading to babies being born with significantly smaller heads. Until February 2016, nearly 4,000 babies in Brazil have been born with suspected microcephaly.
Most people infected with Zika virus didn’t know that they have the disease because the symptoms are quite mild compared to other vector borne diseases. The incubation period (the time from exposure to symptoms) for Zika virus disease is unknown, but it is likely to range from a few days to a week.
Flat or raised skin rash
Fever and headache
Joint pain and muscle aches
Less frequently, gastrointestinal discomfort with vomiting and retro-orbital pain
Similarly to dengue, treatment for Zika virus infection consists of relieving pain, fever and any other symptoms shown on patients. Currently, there is no vaccine nor anti-viral treatment available.