Zika virus is a public health emergency of international concern. Zika virus (ZIKV) is a mosquito-borne pathogen that is carried by the Aedes genus. Zika is spread through direct bite and nonvector transmission. Most individuals infected with Zika will be asymptomatic, but some may present nonspecific viral symptoms. A rising number of neurological disorders in newborns whose mothers were infected with ZIKV during pregnancy have been reported due to recent outbreaks. Neurological disorders affect both the central and peripheral nervous systems and can result from bacterial, viral, fungal or parasitic infections of the nervous system or from the immune response to the infection. Guillain-Barre and microcephaly are two complications that can occur due to ZIKV infection. Recent studies have shown there is a stronger correlation between a maternal ZIKV infection during her first trimester of pregnancy and neurological disorders in the neonate. Currently, there is not an available treatment option to change the physical appearance of microcephaly or reverse the complications from Zika virus. However, there are developmental screenings and therapies that can be performed to detect and improve strength and movement needed to perform daily tasks. Precautions, such as mosquito repellents and protective clothing, should be taken to avoid exposure. Women should wait the appropriate time lengths and be tested along with their partner, regardless of symptom status, before attempting pregnancy. Available tests include real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR), which is U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved and considered the standard test, immuno-globulin (IgM), and plaque reduction neutralization test (PRNT). A combination of these tests will produce the most accurate results.
Herman A, Zimmerman M, Vanscoy O, Henton O, Peters L. Zika Virus Induced Neurological Disorders and Impacts on Public Health. PAW Review. 2017 Jan 01; 8(1):Article 2 7-11 . Available from: https://digitalcommons.onu.edu/paw_review/vol8/iss1/2. Free full text article.