Zika Virus Spreads In Asia, Adult Neurological Complications Confirmed In A Study

Sep 13, 2016 07:09 AM EDT | Karen Conda

Zika virus, a mosquito-borne flavivirus that was first identified in Uganda in 1947 in monkeys continues to be a worldwide health concern. First identified and spread in Africa and America, this virus is now a big concern as it, at the moment, continues to spread in Asia. 

There are now 300 confirmed cases in Singapore that spread badly within merely two weeks. Now there are confirmed cases in Malaysia that raised the alarm of health organizations all over Asia and the world. 

The alarming thing is that the virus found in Malaysia is not the one that originated from Africa but a mutated version from that which originated in Asia. 

The symptoms are similar to other arbovirus infections such as dengue that include fever, skin rashes, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise, and headache. These symptoms are usually mild and last for 2-7 days.

The virus can greatly affect an infected pregnant woman and the child that she is carrying. As one of its complications is microcephaly, in which the head and brain become severely underdeveloped. But it now appears that neurological complications are not limited to pregnancy but also to adult humans.

Continuous researches are done to  investigate the link between Zika virus and a range of neurological disorders, and a new research published results that there is a potential for Zika to hold long-term neurological complications for adult humans.

"Zika can clearly enter the brain of adults and can wreak havoc," says Sujan Shresta, a professor at the La Jolla Institute of Allergy and Immunology. "But it's a complex disease-it's catastrophic for early brain development, yet the majority of adults who are infected with Zika rarely show detectable symptoms. Its effect on the adult brain may be more subtle, and now we know what to look for."

These new findings are published in Cell Stem Cell.

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