Description of the Microorganism (Zika Virus) - Free Paper Sample

Published: 2023-11-10
Description of the Microorganism (Zika Virus) - Free Paper Sample
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Biology Medicine World
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1721 words
15 min read


Zika Virus is a mosquito-borne viral infection, which is spread by Aedes mosquitoes. The flavivirus was first identified in Uganda in 1947 in monkeys (World Health Organization, 2018). However, the virus was first identified in humans five years later in both Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania. The virus has been identified in various countries across the world, including the United States, Asia, and the Pacific. The sporadic cases of the Zika Virus increased between the 1960s and 1980s, mainly in Africa and Asia, which recorded a significant number of human infections (World Health Organization, 2018). The first outbreak of Zika Virus recorded in history was the one in the Island of Yap in 2007, although the largest outbreak of the disease occurred in French Polynesia in 2013.

Trust banner

Is your time best spent reading someone else’s essay? Get a 100% original essay FROM A CERTIFIED WRITER!

The Zika Virus has an incubation period of between 3 days and 14 days, although many people infected with the virus do not develop observable symptoms. However, others develop fever, rash, conjunctivitis, muscle, and joint pain. The symptoms can be accompanied by malaise and mild-headache that lasts for a week. The Zika Virus first broke out in South America in 2015 and has since been linked to fetal microcephaly, especially among pregnant mothers. The virus is also associated with neurodevelopmental and neurologic sequelae in humans, as evident in its continuing public health challenges (Mina, Guterman, Allen, & Omer, 2020). For instance, the Zika Virus results in pregnancy complications, including stillbirth, preterm birth, and fetal loss (World Health Organization, 2018). Infection from the virus can trigger neuropathy, myelitis, and Guillain-Barre syndrome in adults and adolescents.

Virulence Factors

In this context, Virulence factors are the molecules that viruses produce to improve their effectiveness and facilitate their colonization of a particular ecological niche within the host. The molecules usually increase the virus's immunoevasion of essential cells in the host and immunosuppression. The latter ensures that the virus effectively counteracts the host’s immune responses to obtain adequate nutrients following its entry into the cells. Virologists have established that one of the virulence factors of Zika Virus is the changes in the genome of ZIKV. The genomic changes usually involve the modification of tissue tropism and increasing neurotropism, which is easily transmitted to humans. However, the virulent factors linked to the pathogenesis of ZIKV are still under research and yet to be known. When comparing the two ZIKV, ZIKV-RGN and Paraiba, the latter is more virulent, and its rate of replication is higher compared to that of the latter (Ávila-Pérez, Nogales, Park, Márquez-Jurado, Iborra, Almazan, & Martínez-Sobrido, 2019). Precisely, the ZIKV infection has two related strains, the RGN and Paraiba. Although related, the two strains have distinct rates of viral replication, and their virulence factors also differ. Generally, the substitution of one amino acid (S139N) in ZIKV prM can elevate the neurovirulence of the ZIKV.

Additionally, any slight change in the amino acid A188V in ZIKV NS1 proteins can facilitate the increased acquisition of ZIKV by the vector. Aedes mosquitoes can easily transmit the virus from the infected host due to the change in the amino acid A188V; hence, making the virus quite virulent in the vector (Ávila-Pérez, et al., 2019). Other than the two, there are other virulent factors linked to the Zika Virus. For instance, there are various genome differences and polymorphisms that can increase the pathogenesis of ZIKV and, ultimately, its outbreak. Specifically, NS2A V117 is a contributing factor to the increased prevalence of ZIKV-Paraiba in vivo.


Immunity is the ability of the body to protect an individual from infection through the action of antibodies. The antibodies determine the extent to which the immune system will protect an individual against infections, including viral infections, hepatitis B, measles, and varicella. The body’s immune system can resist infections that cause Zika Virus, and this is possible through the action of antibodies with the support of leucocytes. Generally, the body’s immune system consists of white blood cells, antibodies, the thymus, bone marrow, complement system, and the lymphatic system. The components are active in fighting infections. However, there are specific immune responses that are responsive to viruses only, such as Zika Virus. They include via cytotoxic cells, via interferons, and via antibodies (Laing, n.d). Via cytotoxic cells utilize molecules known as class I major histocompatibility complex proteins to identify infections inside the cells. For example, the T cell always looks for infections that might have entered specific host cells and kill the cells infected with the Zika Virus using its toxic mediators (Laing, n.d).

Furthermore, the Natural Killer cell continuously releases toxic substances to kill all virally-infected cells; hence, improving immunity and protecting patients from the flavivirus. Other than via cytotoxic cells, via interferons offer immune protection against viruses. The cells already infected with the Zika Virus usually produce proteins referred to as interferons, which suppress the replication of viruses while facilitating the replication of neighboring cells. Lastly, via antibodies are proteins that identify invading pathogens. Via antibodies then bind the infectious pathogens and neutralize them to prevent further infection of the cells. The antibodies promote agglutination. Antibodies agglutinize virus particles by activating phagocytes, which destroys and eliminates Zika Virus through phagocytosis (Laing, n.d). The activation of the complement system and the increased phagocytosis of the virus boost the body’s immunity; hence, protecting the patient from Zika Virus.

Infectious Disease Information

Generally, infectious diseases are illnesses caused by pathogenic microorganisms, including viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites. For example, Zika Virus is an infectious disease that is transmitted through a bite by an infected Aedes spp., specifically Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus (Yuill, 2020). The two species of vectors bite both at night and during the day. The Zika Virus disease is dangerous, and an infected expectant mother can pass it on to the fetus, a scenario that can lead to congenital disabilities. A person infected with the Zika Virus show symptoms such as fever, maculopapular rash, retro-orbital muscle, and joint pain, conjunctivitis, and malaise (World Health Organization, 2018). The symptoms are usually mild, and virologists have concluded that Zika Virus infection does not develop symptoms.


In healthcare, epidemiology is a technique of identifying the specific causes of disease and related health outcomes in populations. Therefore, virologists systematically study the distribution and determinants of the causes and risk factors of Zika Virus based on scientific and data-driven evidence to control its resulting health problems. As of July 2019, Zika Virus was reported in 87 countries and territories worldwide (World Health Organization, 2019, p.1). For example, the outbreak had been evident in Africa, the Americas, the Western-Pacific region, and South-East Asia, since it was first reported in Uganda in 1947. The virus was first identified in monkeys, but later in humans in 1952 in Tanzania. Over six decades, Zika Virus outbreaks have been reported in other regions, and 14 cases have been documented since its first appearance. Zika Virus broke out sporadically in the Americas and increased public health concerns. For example, the Zika Virus outbreak in Brazil in 2016 led to more than 200,000 infections (Zika Virus Infection, 2020). The infections caused over 8,000 birth defects due to the malformations linked to Zika Virus infections. The virus posed significant risks to the public in Florida between 2016 and 2016 and in the Americas. Travel-associated cases were reported in the US, UK, Europe, Australia, China, Japan, and New Zealand between 2015 and 2016 (Zika Virus Infection, 2020). The US recorded 72 Zika Virus cases between 2017 and 2018, although only 5 cases were reported in 2019 in the same country. The UK recorded 283 cases in 2016, although the number reduced to only 4 in 2018. Even though the pandemic is waning, several other regions, including India, Asia, and Africa, are still reporting outbreaks.


Prevention involves taking appropriate measures to stop the spread and infection of disease. To prevent Zika Virus transmissions, expectant mothers should avoid traveling to areas with ongoing outbreaks of the disease. Physicians should advise pregnant mothers accordingly on the risks of Zika virus infection to equip them with adequate precautionary measures to avoid mosquito bites that could transmit the virus during a trip (Yuill, 2020). Generally, people should wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants and avoid places with insufficient air conditioning by sitting. The CDC recommends sleeping under a mosquito net and treating all clothing with permethrin insecticide to keep mosquitoes at bay. Screening blood before transfusion per the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommendations can help prevent the disease (Yuill, 2020). Couples should avoid sexual activity, especially when the man is Zika Virus positive while the pregnant partner is negative. However, they can engage in sexual intercourse provided they will use condoms from the start to the end, regardless of whether they have vaginal, anal, or oral sex.


Treatment is the management and provision of care to patients to combat their adverse medical conditions and diseases. Unfortunately, there is no antiviral treatment available for Zika Virus at the moment. Therefore, patients can have a lot of rest, drink a lot of fluids for rehydration, and take Acetaminophen to relieve fever and pain (Yuill, 2020). However, they should avoid aspirin and related NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).


Clinical relevance is a depiction of whether or not the outcomes of a study are significant. The meaningfulness of the results should be based on minimum costs, fewer inconveniences, and little to no harm to patients. From the foregoing, Zika Virus is linked to congenital abnormalities that keep on re-emerging in newborns. The disease is associated with the re-emerging Guillain-Barre syndrome in both adults and adolescents. Notably, Zika Virus is sexually transmitted and can persist in the male reproductive tract.


Ávila-Pérez, G., Nogales, A., Park, J., Márquez-Jurado, S., Iborra, F. J., Almazan, F., & Martínez-Sobrido, L. (December 27, 2019). A natural polymorphism in Zika virus NS2A protein responsible of virulence in mice. Scientific Reports, Volume 9, Article number: 19968. Springer Nature Limited.

Kazmi, S. S., Ali, W., Bibi, N., & Nouroz, F. (March 4, 2020). A review on Zika virus outbreak, epidemiology, transmission and infection dynamics. J Biol Res (Thessalon), 27: 5. National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine.

Laing, K. (n.d). British Society for Immunology. Immune Responses to Viruses. Pathogens & Disease. British Society for Immunology.

Cite this page

Description of the Microorganism (Zika Virus) - Free Paper Sample. (2023, Nov 10). Retrieved from

Request Removal

If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the SpeedyPaper website, please click below to request its removal:

Liked this essay sample but need an original one?

Hire a professional with VAST experience!

24/7 online support

NO plagiarism