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There are many diseases that can affect humans and pet animals in similar ways, and mosquito borne diseases such as yellow fever, malaria and dengue are some of them. The Zika virus has been making headlines recently due to the high number of cases found in people. But you may be wondering if this virus is just as dangerous to your pet. The following guide will help you gather more information about the Zika virus and what it is capable of doing.Is it a “new” disease?
Most people are hearing about the Zika virus for the first time, but it was discovered back in 1947 in a Ugandan forest, called “Zika” which translates to “overgrown”. The scientists who identified the virus were conducting research on yellow fever. At the time, they discounted the virus as a worrying threat as most of the affected subjects did not develop significant illnesses. The disease was confined to regions of Africa and Asia for decades, but cases in Europe and North America have seen a dramatic increase in the past six months.Symptoms of the disease
The Zika virus is primarily spread through the bite of certain types of mosquitoes which include the Aedes africanus, Aedes albopticus and Aedes aegypti as carriers. Once a person has contracted the Zika virus, he or she will show symptoms that include headaches, rashes, muscle aches, joint pain, fever and conjunctivitis. Most people are able to recover from the illness within a week even without hospitalization, and the illness does not directly cause deaths.Why people are worried?
Although the Zika virus does not cause deaths, scientists have identified a link between the disease and the prevalence of serious, life-threatening birth defects in infants of people who are affected by the virus. It is observed that the Zika virus can cause the fetus to have an underdeveloped brain, which can lead to severe neurological deformation or even death. There is no vaccine or treatment for this disease.Can it affect your pet?
The Zika virus is observed to affect primates and humans, but there is no evidence to show if cats or dogs can be infected too. One of the biggest reasons that scientists are worried about the spread of this disease is that we do not know much about it. Extensive research on the effects of the virus has just begun, even though it has been identified nearly 70 years ago.As the Zika virus is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito, the best way to defend yourself and your family
against this disease is to control the population of mosquitoes in your area. Get rid of any standing water from bowls, buckets or flower pots to mitigate breeding of mosquitoes and use insect repellants to protect your pets
from mosquito bites.