WiRED Releases Zika Rapid Response Module as Cases Multiply and Suspicions Grow about Related Birth Defects


An emerging mosquito-borne illness called Zika is spreading through South America, Africa, the Pacific Islands and elsewhere. In reaction to recent outbreaks, WiRED International just launched a rapid response module on the disease. The purpose of rapid response modules is to get vital information about potentially serious illnesses to medical professionals and grassroots communities as quickly as possible.


Although Zika is generally not life-threatening to infected people, evidence suggests that it may be responsible for recent increases in microcephaly, a defect affecting brain development of the fetus. The association between Zika infection and birth defects is still under investigation. According to Brazil’s Ministry of Health, however, an initial analysis suggested that the link between a Zika virus infection and microcephaly is associated with the first three months of pregnancy.


Symptoms of Zika include fever, rash, joint pain and red eyes and last from two to seven days. There is no vaccine for Zika, and treatment involves paracetamol (acetaminophen) for fever and pain, plenty of fluids and bed rest. Eliminating mosquito breeding sites is the best prevention, along with wearing protective clothing and using insect repellent and mosquito netting.


The Zika virus is similar to the chikungunya and dengue viruses and is caused by a bite from the same mosquito, genus Aedes. Zika originated in the Zika forest in Uganda. The name “Zika” means “overgrown” in the local language.


WiRED’s Zika module describes the disease, its causes, diagnosis, symptoms and treatment and stresses prevention. WiRED’s staff will keep careful watch on the development of this illness and will provide alerts and educational modules as necessary to allow affected communities to respond appropriately.



Sample Questions from WiRED’s Zika Virus Infection Module


1. TRUE or FALSE? Vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea or constipation may occur in persons infected with the Zika virus.


2. It is recommended that _________ be used to treat patients who have signs of Zika like fever and pain.

 a. Antifungal drugs
 b. Antibiotics
 c. Steroids
 d. Paracetamol

3. What is the main way that the Zika virus is transmitted to people?

 a. Mosquito bites
 b. Uncooked food
 c. Blood transfusion
 d. Sexual contact