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Zika virus belongs to the Flaviviridae family of viruses and was isolated for the

first time in 1947, from a rhesus monkey in Zika forest, which is located in
Uganda. For a very long time, the Zika virus disease remained limited to the
equatorial regions of Asia and Africa; however, during the period following 2005,
Zika virus disease started spreading to other parts of the world as well. Its
emergence in South America has been linked to a heightened incidence of
microcephaly (small head & Brain) among newborns.
Zika virus is spread by mosquito bite of Aedes aegypti. This mosquito species is
the same that is involved in the spread of dengue and chikungunya diseases.
Hence a mosquito that carries the blood of an infected person, can function as a
vector to spread Zika virus disease. Transmission from pregnant women to their
babies is possible. The illness caused by Zika virus manifests as low grade fever,
flu-like illness, joint pain, conjunctivitis (red eyes) and skin rash.

At present, no vaccine is available for prevention and although the virus can be
potentially dangerous in a limited number of cases, deaths are
uncommon. Protection from the disease is possible by utilizing measures like
wearing clothing with long sleeves, staying indoor, installing mosquito nets and
the use of mosquito repellents.