The Zika virus has been linked to a brain birth defect called microcephaly.
|The recent spread of the Zika virus has been hard to miss due to its significant presence on major news outlets and the general concerns it has been causing across Latin America. However, partly as a result of the attention the virus has received in the news, it can be difficult to understand what exactly we know about it and how it can affect us.
Read on to learn more about what the Zika virus is and what it means for egg and sperm donations.
What is Zika?
The illness seldom causes those affected to seek medical attention and even more rarely causes death, leading those with the disease to often not even realise they have been infected. The Zika virus disease is caused by the virus of the same name, which is spread primarily through mosquito bites from infected Aedes mosquitos. The actual Zika disease causes mild symptoms, including fever, red eyes, sore joints and rash and usually only lasts a few weeks.
So if the disease itself is not extremely dangerous for those who contract it, why is its spread causing global concern? The Zika virus can be contracted from pregnant mothers to their foetuses and has been linked to a brain birth defect called microcephaly. The link between Zika and microcephaly, in addition to other birth deformities, has not been completely determined, but there is growing evidence to suggest that the link exists.