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Two cases of Zika infection have been confirmed by the laboratory of Warsaw University. The people who got infected came back from Colombia and Dominican Republic.

What is the Zika virus?

The virus is extremely durable - it can last up to six months in human body

The virus is extremely durable – it can last up to six months in human body

Zika virus is a member of the virus family Flaviviridae. It is spread by daytime-active Aedes mosquitoes. Zika virus is related to the dengue, yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis, and West Nile viruses. Since the 1950s it has been known to occur within a narrow equatorial belt from Africa to Asia.

The infection, known as Zika fever or Zika virus disease, often causes no or only mild symptoms. As of 2016, the illness cannot be prevented by medications or vaccines. Zika can also spread from a pregnant woman to her foetus. This can result in microcephaly, severe brain malformations, and other birth defects.

We now know that the virus is not only spread by mosquitoes, but can also be transmitted sexually or through a blood transfusion. And it is extremely durable – the researchers from the Spallanzani Institute for Infectious Diseases in Rome showed that it can survive in human sperm up to six months and even replicate in the male reproductive system. Therefore the information about the epidemic is extremely important for people who plan to have children. Doctors advise couples to avoid pregnancy and use protection as long as there is a possibility of the infection.

 

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