Consequences of Zika Grow as Virus Spreads




he Zika virus continues to produce an ever-increasing number of unwelcome surprises for the global health community. A recent Scientific American article cites possible links between Zika and a new set of birth defects. In addition to having microcephaly and other severe brain conditions, babies born to women infected with Zika may also develop joint pain, vision impairment, seizures, trouble feeding and persistent crying — which, alarmingly, may not manifest in children until months or even years later.


The Mosquito — A Human Nemesis

Mosquitoes are more than annoying bugs that leave itchy bites. They carry some of the world’s deadliest diseases resulting in millions of deaths each year globally — mostly to children and the elderly in low-resource countries.


There are more than 3,000 species of mosquitoes. In addition to spreading Zika, mosquitoes cause victims to contract dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever.

A new factor in Zika surveillance is pinpointing the trimester during pregnancy when infection occurs. The New England Journal of Medicine reported that the timing of infection during pregnancy can affect infant health. The article stressed the need to expand scientific knowledge about the spectrum of adverse pregnancy and infant consequences associated with a Zika virus infection.


As the slippery outcomes of Zika multiply, the only certainty about the virus and other viral-driven birth defects is the urgent need for answers. As Zika cases rise during this mosquito season, WiRED International will provide updates on its website and Facebook page about this puzzling virus. WiRED also will continue to provide ongoing Zika education to affected communities around the world.




WiRED International offers educational modules on Zika in English, Spanish and Portuguese for grassroots audiences, health care professionals and pregnant women. There are no vaccines, special treatments or cures for Zika, so prevention and education are the keys to addressing this illness. Prevention includes avoiding insect bites and sexual contact with partners infected with Zika, using insect repellents and achieving systematic mosquito vector control.

True or False Mosquito Quiz
Source: American Mosquito Control Association


1. Light clothing has been shown to attract some species of mosquitoes more than darker colored clothing.


2. A full moon increased mosquito activity 500% in one study.


3. Mosquitoes find hosts by sight, by detecting infra-red radiation emitted by warm bodies and by chemical signals at distances of 25 to 35 meters.



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WiRED International

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention





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