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What you should know about Zika virus as a Nigerian
| February 02, 2016

In recent times, from Africa to other continents of the world, humans have been experiencing pestilences, yeah from Ebola virus to the Lassa fever virus and now, it is the Zika virus. Here in Naija, with all the commotion around the dollar to naira rate and every other thing not moving as planned, it seems we already have a handful. You know, with all our struggles, we still have to battle with rats and now we hear there is an ongoing battle with the mosquitoes (we pray it does not get here,oh). Troubling right? Oh yeah, you might be asking if animals are revolting against humans already? Well…talking about Zika virus, we have done our research and here is what you should know and share.


Zika virus is a member of the virus family Flaviviridae and the genus Flavivirus. It  was first isolated from a rhesus monkey in Zika forest (obviously, where it got its name), Uganda in 1947, in mosquitoes (Aedes africanus) in the same forest in 1948 and in humans in Nigeria in 1954. Hmm..Naija sha. We must always be mentioned somehow.  


Zika virus is primarily transmitted to humans through bites from Aedes mosquitoes, which often live in and around buildings and are usually active during daylight hours. In fact, peak biting activity occurs in early mornings and late afternoons.

Some evidence suggests Zika virus can also be transmitted to humans through blood transfusion, perinatal transmission and sexual transmission. However, these happens on rare occasions.

The period between exposure to an infection and the appearance of the first symptoms is typically between 2 and 7 days.

Recent development:

In May 2015, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) , issued an alert about the first confirmed Zika virus infection in Brazil. Sadly, this outbreak led to reports of Guillain–Barre syndrome (an acute disorder of the peripheral nerves, often preceded by a respiratory infection, causing weakness and often paralysis of the limbs) and pregnant women giving birth to babies with birth defects and poor pregnancy outcomes.

In response, Centres for Disease Control and prevention (CDC), working to protect America from health, safety and security threats, issued travel notices for people travelling to regions and countries where Zika virus transmission is ongoing.

WHO has declared a global health emergency and this means Nigeria and the whole world is not safe from this disease. In fact, in Nigeria now, medical experts are saying the country is vulnerable to the virus because the mosquitoes carrying the virus are common here. The Minister of Health Prof. Isaac Folorunso Adewole has ordered the screening for Zika virus at all the country's ports of entry. 

Confirmed regions/countries with Zika virus:

Knowledge is power. Like a friend would say, provision store is better than a kiosk. My people, if you must travel, here are confirmed areas with day-time and active Aedes mosquitoes transmitting Zika virus:


  • Barbados
  • Bolivia
  • Brazil
  • Colombia
  • Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, US territory
  • Costa Rica
  • Curacao
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • El Salvador
  • French Guiana
  • Guadeloupe
  • Guatemala
  • Guyana
  • Haiti
  • Honduras
  • Martinique
  • Mexico
  • Nicaragua
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Saint Martin
  • Suriname
  • U.S. Virgin Islands
  • Venezuela


  • American Samoa
  • Samoa


Cape Verde


  • No locally transmitted Zika cases have been reported in the continental United States, but cases have been reported in returning travelers.
  • Locally transmitted Zika virus has been reported in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
  • With the recent outbreaks, the number of Zika cases among travelers visiting or returning to the United States will likely increase and this could result in local spread of the virus in some areas of the United States.


The most common symptoms of Zika virus infection are :

  • Mild fever 
  • Exanthema (skin rash)
  • Conjunctivitis (red eyes)
  • Muscle or joint pain, and
  • General malaise that begins 2-7 days after the bite of an infected mosquito.

It is of note that this illness usually is mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week. Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon and fatalities are rare. During the current outbreak in Brazil, Zika virus RNA has been identified in tissues from several infants with microcephaly (abnormal smallness of the head, a congenital condition associated with incomplete brain development) and from fetal losses in women infected during pregnancy. The Brazil Ministry of Health has reported a marked increase in the number of babies born with microcephaly. However, it is not known how many of the microcephaly cases are associated with Zika virus infection and what factors increase risk to the fetus. Guillain-Barré syndrome also has been reported in patients following suspected Zika virus infection. So, if you must travel to anywhere in the world, say Rio de Janeiro, Brazil especially for the upcoming Olympic games coming up in August, you have to think again, especially if you are pregnant or have a pregnant wife and if you have won a ticket..sell But if you bought your tickets already before the virus and want to make a return for a refund, you should check from where you got the ticket and see if it is refundable, then follow due processes to get your cash back.  


There is no commercial vaccine or specific antiviral drug treatment for Zika virus infection. Treatment is directed primarily at relieving symptoms using anti-pyretics and analgesics.


First things first, since there is no treatment yet, prevention is the key. Do not travel to any of these places with Zika virus. Just hold on a while until it is all over. If you have to travel to give birth abroad since you have the cash, please it is not about the cash now, it is about the baby. Let it live and live in peace please. Moreover, with that cash you can start something new, the year is still fresh. In fact, CDC has issued precautions to pregnant women and women trying to get pregnant, to postpone travelling to affected areas because of the suspicious link between Zika virus and microcephaly. But, if you must travel, have a discussion with your doctor first and be vigilant when it comes to protecting yourselves from mosquito bites. If you do not have one, search for a doctor closest to you here: 

The best way to prevent diseases spread by mosquitoes is to first, control mosquito populations and avoid being bitten altogether.

Some ways to avoid been bitten by mosquitoes are:

• Stay in places with air conditioning/very good fans ( for where to purchase one) or use window and door insect screens(if you can afford them) to keep mosquitoes outside.

• Remove sources of standing water e.g gutters, bushes, dirts and more, which can become a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

• Always remember that mosquitoes that spread Zika virus may be more likely to bite during daytime hours as you go out for your daily activities.

• Apply insect repellents and reapply as directed. Check with your doctor about what kinds of repellents are safe to use in pregnancy.

• Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants and tuck your pants into your socks when outdoors.

• Wear light-colored clothing, since mosquitoes are thought to be more attracted to darker colors.

• Avoid the use of scented skin care products e.g cologne, body sprays, etc. To buy unscented products, depending on your location, check

• Sleep under a mosquito net at night and if you can travel with it, please do or buy one now.

More than ever before, the world condition is teaching everyone living to understand the meaning of prevention and hygiene. Understanding prevention now is key, and that means taking the necessary precautions to avoid being infected.

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