Zika Virus (ZIKV) – KU Conversations

By Courtney Aaron

Good morning KU students and welcome to the second posting of KU Conversations! Our topic for this week is the increasingly worrying Zika Virus. Some of you may have heard of this virus in the news recently or online, so we decided to provide you all with some great sources of information about what is currently known the Virus (and what isn’t known). To help you all navigate some of the less than well known terms used by some of these articles like flavivirus or microcephaly. Please feel free to use these links to both the Oxford Reference website and and this npr (National Public Radio) article discussing commonly used terms for discussing diseases.

For those of you who are hearing about the Zika virus for the first time, here are a couple of sources that will give you a general overview about the virus. The first link is from WHO (the World Health Organization). WHO also provided many other links and information about the Zika virus including a list of question and answers that many people have had about the virus and (provided through EBSCO Host/will need KU login) an overview about the virus that is more focused on the America’s current situation.  We also have a list of other countries provided by the CDC (the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) listing places where the virus is confirmed to be, like Micronesia (requires current KU login). For those of you interested in the Zika Viruses discovery we found a great article (may require current KU login) from Science giving a fascinating explanation about how Zika was first discovered while researching Yellow Fever.


Map provided by the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention


Aedes aegypti, a male on the left and a female on the right. Original by Emil August Goeldi (1859 – 1917)

Many of you who have heard of the virus probably heard of the newest development that pregnant woman who have the Zika Virus may be at risk for diseases concerning their unborn child/children, specifically microcephaly. While the link between the Zika virus and microcephaly hasn’t fully been proven, there is enough of a pattern that many health agencies are recommending taking extra precautions. This link provides a question and answer list specifically about ZIKV and pregnancy. We also have a guideline on how to find out/ what to do if you think you are pregnant and have the Zika virus (provided from EBSCO Host/requires current KU login).

Microcephaly-comparison-500px (2)

Illustration of an baby with micrcepahly (left) compared to a baby with a typically head size (right). Image is provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Unfortunately there is no cure for the Zika Virus yet although there are multiple companies around the world currently focused on creating one. Meanwhile most countries are more focused on taking preventive measures. This fact sheet provided by Proquest (requires current KU student ID) describes the multiple ways the United States is working on preventing the Zika Virus from reaching the country, including expanding mosquito control programs. Countries around the world are doing the same and health organizations are providing prevention tips to help. Currently the major international worry is about the next Olympic games since they will take place this year in Brazil (article provided by ScienceDirect/ requires current KU login).

Like our Facebook page if you learned something new about the Zika Virus. Do you think Zika will spread further in the world? How soon do you think a vaccine can be created? Discuss what you think of the situation either in the comments section here or on the Rohrbach Libraries Facebook Posting!






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