The thought of coming down with Zika virus has people around the world in panic-mode. The tiny Aedes aegypti mosquito is the culprit that is responsible for spreading the virus, and there are an uncountable number of those pesky winged critters in breeding pools all over the world. Africa was the first continent to identify the Zika Virus. The first case was recorded in 1940. Countries in Asia had an outbreak of the Zika virus in the 1950s, but there were no reported cases of Zika in North or South America until 2015. That’s when Brazil’s chief medical man, Dr. Sergio Cortes put out a report about a potential Zika virus epidemic.
The Zika virus is not a life-threating illness for most infected individuals, but the symptoms can be annoying for 3 to 7 days. But Dr. Cortes and his team found another side-effect of the Zika virus that put the world on notice. The Zika virus could potentially cause the disease known as microcephaly in newborn babies. Sergio Cortes and his team believes the Zika virus and microcephaly are related.
Babies born with microcephaly have smaller, odd shaped heads, and there is usually brain damage as well. Infected babies live shorter lives, according to Dr. Cortes. On his official website, Dr. Cortes explains the side-effects of the Zika virus as well as the complications that exist when a baby is born with microcephaly.
Brazil started a very aggressive program to eradicate the Aedes aegypti mosquito. The chemical Pyriproxyfen developed by a Japanese firm is the larvicide used to alter the genetic structure of the mosquito. Pyriproxyfen is a strong chemical agent, and some doctors believe that chemical rather than the Zika virus is the cause of microcephaly. Dr. Cortes says there is no scientific evidence to support that theory, but Brazil has a research program in place that is studying the effects of the Zika virus as well as the effects of Pyriproxyfen.
Dr. Cortes thinks the presence of the virus in amniotic fluid, and the strong temporal and geographic relationship between the Zika virus cases and microcephaly is growing. The Pyriproxyfen theory has no scientific basis at this point, according to Dr. Cortes.
For information about the Zika Virus and Dr. Cortes visit the Cortes LinkedIn page. Cortes also has a Facebook page that has more information about his work and the Zika virus. And Twitter users around the world follow Dr. Cortes.