The Zika virus has become a growing concern as a global pandemic. Since being identified in Uganda in 1947, the virus has spread around the world, recently emerging in South America with a great impact on Brazil. As of 2016, Zika has made its appearance in the United States and is now actively being transmitted in Florida. The virus is a mosquito-vectored flavivirus primarily transmitted by the Aedes mosquito which infects a human through biting. Transmission through sexual intercourse is also possible as well as transmission from a pregnant woman to her fetus. This latter form of transmission presents the primary problem with the Zika virus; transmission to the fetus can cause microcephaly as well as other brain and developmental problems. Proper precautions should be taken based on these identified modes of transmission. Symptoms of Zika are similar to flu-like symptoms, such as low-grade fever, muscle pain and headache. About 20 percent of patients that come in contact with the Zika virus will originally present as asymptomatic and will not display symptoms until almost two weeks after initial contact with the virus. Zika virus can remain in the blood for about a week, but can remain in the semen for months. There are a number of methods used to detect the Zika virus—urine, blood or semen samples may be used to assess if a patient is infected.
Homan M, Dickman J, Deininger J, Hopkins A, Henton O, Leonard SN. Zika Virus: Infectious Process and Public Health Response. PAW Review. 2017 Jan 01; 8(1):Article 1 2-5 . Available from: https://digitalcommons.onu.edu/paw_review/vol8/iss1/1. Free full text article.