Twenty Five percent of Nigeria’s population have tested positive to the dreaded Zika virus currently ravaging the South American continent.
The Minister of Health Prof. Isaac Folorunso Adewole who made the revelation while defending the 2016 budget of the Ministry of Health said the virus is not taken serious because Nigeria is not interested in it.
He said: “I want to say that Zika has been with us since 1954. About 25% of Nigerians are positive to Zika virus but what has happened is that it has done nothing to us.”
Zika virus according to the Centre for Disease Control, spread to people through mosquito bites. The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting from several days to a week. Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon.
In May 2015, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) issued an alert regarding the first confirmed Zika virus infection in Brazil. The outbreak in Brazil led to reports of Guillain-Barré syndrome and pregnant women giving birth to babies with birth defects and poor pregnancy outcomes.
In response, CDC has issued travel notices for people traveling to regions and certain countries where Zika virus transmission is ongoing.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) said the incubation period (the time from exposure to symptoms) of Zika virus disease is not clear, but is likely to be a few days. The symptoms are similar to other arbovirus infections such as dengue, and include fever, skin rashes, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise, and headache. These symptoms are usually mild and last for 2-7 days.
During large outbreaks in French Polynesia and Brazil in 2013 and 2015 respectively, national health authorities reported potential neurological and auto-immune complications of Zika virus disease.
Recently in Brazil, local health authorities have observed an increase in Zika virus infections in the general public as well as an increase in babies born with microcephaly in northeast Brazil. Agencies investigating the Zika outbreaks are finding an increasing body of evidence about the link between Zika virus and microcephaly.
However, more investigation is needed before we understand the relationship between microcephaly in babies and the Zika virus. Other potential causes are also being investigated.