Sergio Cortes Explains Zika, Dengue, and Chikungunya
A recent article on R7 Noticias explains that it was recently discovered that in addition to dengue, the Aedes Agypti mosquito is also responsible for the spread of two other viruses: zika and chikungunya. According to experts, the symptoms of all three illnesses are quite similar, namely, high fever, body aches, eye pain, muscle pain, and skin rashes, according to Dr. Sergio Cortes.
As a result of these new viruses caused by the same mosquito, it is important to highlight how to distinguish each illness. The main symptoms of dengue as compared to the other illnesses are body aches and eye pain. Dr. Sergio Cortes adds that in order to tell the zika virus from chikungunya, Nurse Bruno del Guerra, with the Itapetinga Epidemiological Control Unit in Sao Paulo, has identified certain symptoms as being found mainly in each specific illness. The zika virus is associated with itching throughout the body and eye redness, whereas chikungunya causes rather intense joint pain.
Despite the recorded increase in microcephaly among newborns, these data are still being studied. Therefore, the threat posed by the zika viruses is difficult to establish. Dr. Sergio Cortes added Del Guerra’s observation that, on the other hand, that hemorrhaging is a well-known possible symptom of dengue. In addition, Guerra also stressed the importance of seeking medical care when symptoms of these illnesses arise. Dr. Sergio Cortes also added that according to Nurse Del Guerra, studies are underway to determine whether a single person can be afflicted with more than one the viruses simultaneously.
There is no known antiviral therapy or any other type of treatment to prevent the illness. Sergio Cortes explains that according to Del Guerra, treatments for these illnesses are under investigation. For the time being, oral rehydration therapy is the standard treatment, or if necessary, intravenous rehydration can also be administered at first-aid centers. Rehydration should be followed by at least five days of bed-rest to ensure a full recovery. For five years, the Butantan Institute in Sao Paulo has been working to create an effective cure for these illnesses. Their drug is currently in Phase Two clinical trials, and the Institute is hopeful that the drug will achieve Phase Three status and be approved for large-scale production, according to Sergio Cortes. Researchers are hopeful that ANVISA (the Brazilian Public Health Agency) will give approval to the drug this month for Phase Three trials.
There have been 17 million patients in the clinical trials under the close supervision of the researchers. According to Sergio Cortes, the drug must be at least 80% effective in order to reduce the incidence of the four strains of dengue. As of yet, there is no established timeframe for the completion of clinical trials. According to Anvisa, application for approval is still pending. Until a solution to these problems comes to be, experts say that the best approach is prevention and the elimination of the nesting grounds of the mosquito that carries the viruses.