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Zika Virus: 7 Updated Facts and Figures

The Zika virus came into our collective consciousness in fairly recent history, and what we know about it has been constantly evolving. The virus was a big concern during the recent Summer Games in Rio due to the mosquito population carrying it. However there have so far been no confirmed reports of athletes contracting the virus (although some Olympic athletes decided to drop out of the Olympic competition ahead of time due to Zika concerns).

The virus was originally associated with flu-like symptoms, but what was more concerning to many was that it was linked to Microcephaly (smaller than normal heads in newborns). Let’s take a look at seven new facts about Zika to help dispel any myths that may be spreading out there…

1. Sterilized Male Mosquitoes Don’t Spread the Virus

One way that Brazil has tackled the Zika outbreak is by sterilizing the male mosquito population with low doses of radiation, explains the World Health Organization (WHO). The males still mate with females, but the eggs do not survive due to the sterilizing process, adds the source.

WHO confirms that there is no evidence to support an increase in human defects (such as Microcephaly) due to this practice. “However, the evidence for the public health value of this technique needs to be established,” adds the global organization. It also notes that only male mosquitoes that have been genetically modified with another technique are released, and there’s no risk to the public from this as only female mosquitoes bite humans.

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