6 things to know about the Zika virus spread by Aedes mosquito

Aedes mosquitoes kept in containers at a lab at the University of Sao Paulo. PHOTO: AFP

A researcher at Brazil's University of Sao Paulo speaking about the Zika virus. PHOTO: AFP

The word "zika" is derived from the Zika forest in Uganda, where the virus was first isolated by scientists from a sentinel rhesus monkey.

Transmitted to humans via mosquitoes, the Aedes mosquito - which also spreads dengue and chikungunya - is the only known carrier of the virus.


A graph showing the symptoms of the Zika virus, in the background of a news conference in Bogota, Colombia. PHOTO: REUTERS

The symptoms associated with the virus are usually quite mild, and only about one in five people infected actually fall ill.

Common signs to look out for include a slight fever, rash, conjuctivitis, headache as well as joint and muscle pain.

The incubation period is not known, but is likely to range between a few days to a week. During the first week of infection, the virus can be found in the blood and passed from an infected person to a mosquito through mosquito bites.

Hospitalisation due to the virus is not common, while deaths are rare.


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