Zika Virus

Zika Virus: Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

What is Zika Virus?

Zika is a mosquito-borne virus that mainly occurs in tropical and subtropical parts of the world. When living or traveling in these areas, you can check for an outbreak of the disease as a precaution.

Zika a type of flavivirus found in arthropods (insects). Primarily mosquitoes and ticks spread the virus. It is in the same family as other viruses, including Japanese encephalitis, West Nile, yellow fever and dengue fever. (x)

Zika transmits through several Aedes mosquito species, but the Aedes aegypti, also known as the yellow fever mosquito, most commonly transmit this virus. (x) Unlike malaria-carrying mosquitos, Aedes mosquitos bite during the day, especially around dawn and dusk. It’s helpful to know so you can prepare your outings with proper clothing and repellant. 

Only female mosquitos bit humans and animals because they require the blood to give nutrients to their eggs. Consider your blood as a prenatal supplement for future mosquitos. (x)

When a female mosquito bites an already infected host, the virus enters the mosquito’s system, replicates itself and then spreads to its salivary glands. It then takes about eight to ten days for the virus to incubate in the mosquito. Once the infected mosquito feeds on you, the virus transmits to you. It incubates in your body for about three to twelve days, after which it reproduces and spreads to your glands and nervous system. (x)

Zika is rarely fatal but can cause serious complications. No cure exists yet, so global efforts focus on awareness and prevention. These efforts aim to reduce rates of infection from mosquito to human and from one human to another. Following basic protocols as repellant, avoiding standing water, insect nets or screens and wearing long-sleeve shirts and pants helps prevent the spread of the disease. (x)

History of Zika Virus

Zika virus was first identified in rhesus monkeys in 1947 in Uganda’s Zika Forest. These monkeys are small and brown with red skin, used in medical research. (x) Then, in 1952, medical teams identified the first human case of the virus in Tanzania and Uganda. Outbreaks have periodically occurred in Asia, the Pacific, the Americas and Africa. A significant outbreak of the disease occurred in Brazil in 2016, which raised international awareness. Since then, outbreaks have occurred in Brownsville, Texas and Miami, Florida. (x)

Symptoms of Zika Virus

Roughly 4 of 5 people who become infected with the virus have minimal to no signs. However, when symptoms occur, they present 3 to 14 days after exposure and are usually mild and last for about 2 to 7 days. (x) Some commonly reported symptoms include: (x)

  • Red eyes (conjunctivitis)
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • High temperature
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Fatigue
  • Appetite loss

Because symptoms are mild and resemble a common cold, people may not seek medical attention. While the virus has symptoms similar to a cold, the absence of respiratory symptoms like sneezing and coughing can distinguish the two.

Researchers believe that once infected. A person is unlikely to become reinfected in the future. (x)

Causes of Zika Virus

Zika infections most commonly result from transmission through an infected mosquito. Once infected, however, it can then spread to other humans through the following means:

  1. From Mother to Child

If a pregnant woman contracts the Zika virus during pregnancy, she can pass it to her unborn baby. In addition, transmission from mother to baby can occur during the time of birth and through breastmilk. (x)

  1. Sexual Contact

Zika virus transmits through sperm and vaginal fluids when you have sex with either male or female. The virus spreads through sexual contact, from one individual to another, including anal and oral sex and sharing of sex toys. You can transmit the disease before noticing the symptoms, after seeing symptoms and after symptoms end. (x)

  1. Blood Transfusion

Areas that experienced outbreaks of Zika like French Polynesia and Brazil discovered that the virus could, and had been, transmitted through blood transfusions. These regions with high Zika activity are continuing to try to find methods to ensure the safety of their emergency blood supply. In the U.S., by contrast, the FDA determined in 2018 that periodic screening of some blood samples is sufficient to maintain a safe emergency blood supply. (x) (x)

Risk Factors for Zika Virus

If you live or travel to tropical or subtropical areas where infected mosquitos reside, you increase your risk of exposure to the virus. Regions that have wet lowlands and warmer temperatures may also be prone to Zika infected mosquitos. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continually tracks the changing global Zika activity and reports it to the public at Zika Travel Information.

Complications of Zika Virus

Even though symptoms of Zika tend to be mild, they can cause severe life-long complications. Some of those include:

  1. Guillain-Barre Syndrome

This autoimmune disorder affects the peripheral nervous system and can cause weakness, paralysis and even difficulty breathing independently. Symptoms vary widely in their severity but luckily, many people recover from this disorder with treatment. (x) According to the research in areas that have experienced Zika outbreaks, a link appears to exist between Zika infection and the risk of developing Guillain-Barre Syndrome — a rare neurological disorder. (x)

  1. Congenital Malformations

If a pregnant woman becomes infected by Zika, the fetus may develop specific congenital malformations. For example, microcephaly, or the condition where a baby has an abnormally small head circumference that ultimately affects brain development, shows a connection with Zika. (x)

While the increase in babies born with microcephaly in Brazil’s most recent outbreak was well-publicized and rightfully caused alarm within the region’s health ministries, researchers now guess that only a small number, about 1 percent, of women infected with the virus during pregnancy will give birth to babies with microcephaly. (x)

However, it’s still unclear how many babies, even if born without microcephaly, will develop other developmental issues as they get older. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, babies infected in utero and now between the ages of 19 to 24 months often exhibit developmental delays to varying degrees. They may also experience problems with hearing, vision, joint mobility and motor skills. (x)

  1. Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis (ADEM)

A few rare cases of acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM) correlate with the Zika outbreak in Brazil. With ADEM, people experience sudden swelling of the brain and spinal cord, causing symptoms like weakness and paralysis. Generally, though, people recover from this condition within six months. (x)

Zika Virus Symptoms

Prevention of Zika Virus

No cure or vaccine currently exists, so public health efforts focus on awareness and prevention. Steps you can take to avoid becoming infected include: (x)

  1. Avoiding Mosquito Bites

If you’re traveling, check the Zika Travel Information page to see if the area you plan to visit is currently experiencing Zika activity.

Use insect repellent. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approves several types of repellents such as DEET, Picaridin and oil of lemon eucalyptus. Learn which product is most appropriate for you because it depends on many factors. The EPA recommends using this tool to determine which repellent is best for you. Follow the instructions carefully, especially when applying to children. In addition, never apply insect repellent to babies under two months of age. (x)

Use screens on doors and windows. When traveling, choose accommodations with screens. If this isn’t possible, sleep under a mosquito net, preferably treated with the insecticide permethrin (insecticide). (x)

Use air conditioning if possible.

Wear long-sleeve shirts and long pants, preferably treated with permethrin. 

Cover baby strollers with nets.

Minimize mosquito breeding sites by periodically checking for, and getting rid of, standing water that may accumulate in things like pots, pet bowls and buckets inside and outside of the house.

  1. Prevent Person to Person Transmission

If you’re caring for someone with the virus, wash and sanitize your hands and surfaces frequently. Have them eat on disposable dinnerware, separated from others. Try to isolate them from the rest of the family or occupants of the house. Separate bathrooms are best, and make sure you throw out their trash every day. (x)

Avoiding vaginal, anal, oral and manual sex will prevent the virus from spreading. Zika survives in semen longer than other fluids, medical research advises men to be particularly careful of passing it to a partner.

  1. Use condoms

People with a pregnant sex partner who travel to Zika infected areas abstain from sex with that partner or use a condom for the duration of the pregnancy.

Supplements and Remedies for Zika Virus

Treatment for a Zika infection resembles that for a common cold. Get plenty of rest and fluids and use acetaminophen (Tylenol) to reduce fever or pain. Don’t use NSAIDs (Motrin, Advil, aspirin) until your healthcare professional rules out Dengue fever. (x) These medications are hard on your liver, so consider natural remedies. Some natural remedies can help get you back on your feet as well. Talk with your healthcare provider before trying new supplements. Some include:

  1. Garlic

Garlic contains allicin, a compound that strengthens the immune system and manages fever. This property of garlic makes it great for fighting bacterial, viral and contagious contamination. As a dietary supplement, take 650 mg twice a day with meals or as directed by a physician. (x) A study performed in Indonesia concluded that a garlic solution of 90% killed Aedes SP larva  as a solution to control the environment of mosquitos. (x)

  1. Vitamin C 

Vitamin C contains incredible healing agents that can reduce symptoms related to the Zika virus. Research from the University of Puerto Rico and Ponce Health Sciences University published a report that showed that after three days of vitamin C therapy, the conditions of a patient with Zika significantly improved. (x) As a dietary supplement, take 1,000 mg daily or as directed by a physician.

  1. Ginger

Ginger is an anti-inflammatory agent that can help relieve headache, bronchitis, nausea, abdominal cramps and cough, and joint and muscle pain. It can also help eliminate the symptoms of the virus and strengthen the immune system. (x) As a dietary supplement, take 1,000 mg daily or as directed by a physician. To avoid heartburn, take with at least 8 ounces of water.

  1. Turmeric Extract

Research shows that curcumin, which is in turmeric, inhibits the Zika virus. The study discovered that not only does curcumin help prevent the viruses, but it also interferes with its ability to continue to infect cells by stopping them from binding to cells. (x) The suggested recommendation as a dietary supplement is 1000 mg or 1/2 tsp daily, depending on what your physician directs.

Where to Buy Supplements for Zika Virus?

You can purchase these powders and supplements for Zika virus symptoms at BulkSupplements.com. The company is an industry-leading manufacturer and distributor of pure dietary supplements. 

BulkSupplements.com is not just a consumer brand. It also supplies pure ingredients to other food and supplement brands to make their products. All products at BulkSupplements.com are manufactured and tested according to current and proper manufacturing practices.

Are you interested in trying any of these powders or supplements mentioned in this article as a possible solution to helping you with Zika virus? Contact BulkSupplements.com to place an order today.

The Bottom Line

Most human cases of Zika originate from an infected mosquito. This insidious virus presents a challenge for public health officials because people may not even realize they have the virus.

In some cases, however, it leads to neurological problems.

One of the most problematic consequences of the virus affects fetuses whose mothers became infected during pregnancy. These babies can be born with congenital abnormalities and have developmental impairments.

While no treatment or vaccine exists yet, there are ways to prevent mosquito bites. You can take supplements like turmeric, which inhibits the virus from binding with cells in your body. Also, follow the guides on how to avoid passing the Zika virus to another person.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Author: Kevin Baronowsky