You may have all heard about the Zika virus by now! It is an infectious disease spread by a virus that is known to be carried and transmitted by mosquitoes, specifically the Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus species. These mosquitoes have also been implicated in the transmission of other viruses, including infections such as Yellow Fever, Dengue Fever and Chikungunya Fever.
Why all of the hype now about the infamous Zika virus?
Well, long story short – 2015 marks the first time the virus was reported in multiple cases within the Western Hemisphere (specifically, Central and South America, Mexico and the Caribbean). However, frequent travel has now also resulted in reported cases within the US. The vast majority of the cases in the U.S. are still thought to be due to travel rather than local transmission. Of course, this is subject to change, given that confirmed infected travelers are potential sources of future local viral transmission. In fact, you may have even heard of some recent reports of the Zika virus showing signs of sexual transmission, and Zika viral particles being found in urine and and saliva samples. Further studies are being done to more fully characterize the nature of possible Zika virus transmission.