The Zika Virus is most prevalent in South America and central African regions, the virus can be spread across a human population via sexual intercourse or bites from a mosquito. The symptoms of the Zika virus are quite often mild in people, however an infection of Zika in the womb of a pregnant woman is known to cause microcephaly in children. Microcephaly is a congenital condition that is responsible for an abnormal smallness of the head that is associated with the incomplete development of a child’s brain. Scientists have also made links between the Zika virus and Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS) in adults. GBS is a weakness in the muscles that can occur rapidly after the immune system begins to attack the persons peripheral nervous system.
Recent research by scientists has found that not only can the Zika virus circulate in a persons bloodstream, but it can also hide in unsuspected locations that were previously unknown to researchers such as lymph nodes and cerebrospinal fluids. Cerebrospinal fluid is a colourless fluid that can be found around the brain and spinal regions. The fact that the virus can remain in these hidden regions is a possible explanation for why the Zika virus can have such a great effect on the brain and equally on the persons central nervous system.
From the scientists investigation, they gathered some very interesting results. They found that the Zika virus can remain in lymph nodes for as long as 72 days and in cerebrospinal fluid for as long as 42 days. When compared to the fact that the virus only circulates in the bloodstream for 10 days, this is a very significant period of time. The results from the experiments may prove invaluable to scientists in the near future as they prepare to improve treatments towards the virus. However, the conclusions drawn from the investigation suggest that the Zika virus may have the potential to cause disorders to nerves and the nervous system that have yet to have been witnessed by researchers. This fact alone means that discovering a treatment for the Zika virus has been made much more difficult for scientists.