Bogota (Colombia) : The Colombian Government has called on women to delay pregnancy for six to eight months because of the Zika virus outbreak.
According to the Colombian National Institute of Health, the outbreak has affected 26,542 people and 5,013 pregnant women.
The Zika virus is transmitted through sex and by mosquitoes in the daytime. It can survive in semen for more than 60 days after infection.
It does not cause serious complications in adults, but is suspected of leading to severe brain defects and microcephaly cases in newborn children.
According to official statements, Colombia is believed to have up to 6,000 cases of the virus just in 2016. World researchers are still struggling to develop a vaccine or treatment as the Zika virus has run amuck.
Zika virus was first identified in Uganda in 1947 in rhesus monkeys through a monitoring network of sylvatic yellow fever. It was subsequently identified in humans in 1952 in Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania.
Outbreaks of Zika virus disease have been recorded in Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific.
The incubation period (the time from exposure to symptoms) of Zika virus disease is not clear, but is likely to be a few days. The symptoms are similar to other arbovirus infections such as dengue, and include fever, skin rashes, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise, and headache. These symptoms are usually mild and last for 2-7 days.
Mosquitoes and their breeding sites pose a significant risk factor for Zika virus infection. Prevention and control relies on reducing mosquitoes through source reduction (removal and modification of breeding sites) and reducing contact between mosquitoes and people. (ANI)