Zika Virus

zika virus image

Hands-on Resources for Grasping the Science Behind the Zika Virus

Zika virus is not new; scientists first discovered it in 1947. The current outbreak, starting in Brazil in early 2015 and now spread to more than 45 countries, has brought Zika and its neurological side-effects to the top of the news. Normally quite mild for healthy adults, Zika occasionally causes grave neurological problems in adults, known as Guillain-Barre syndrome. For some babies infected before birth, Zika can lead to problems with brain development including microcephaly (atypically small brain and head size). Microcephaly is linked with a number of challenges like vision and hearing problems, seizures, developmental delays in speech and walking, and intellectual disabilities. Zika, and other viruses, are an active area of research. Explore the hands-on projects, career information, and news feed below to understand more about Zika and other potentially pandemic viruses like Ebola, influenza, SARS, etc.

Science Projects and Activities to Understand Viruses

Where Do Outbreaks
Come From?

Fruit bats, like this one, may be responsible for Ebola virus transmission to humans in latest Ebola outbreak.

Viruses can be carried different places by host animals; Aedes species mosquitoes can carry Zika.

How Does the Body
Fight Viruses?

Blood cells fight off the Ebola virus as part of the immune response.

If you have had Zika, you are unlikely to get it again.

How Are Medicines Developed to Prevent and Treat Viral Outbreaks?
Ebola treatments, Ebola drugs, and Ebola vaccines are being developed in medical laboratories.

Researchers are working hard on Zika vaccines using methods like these:

What Can We Do to Stop Virus Transmission and
Stay Healthy?

Careful hygiene, including hand washing, can prevent virus transmission and is one of the CDC recommendations in the Ebola outbreak.

Zika is not transmitted from casual contact, but other viruses like influenza are.

Whose Job Is It to Handle the Zika Outbreak?

epidemiologist conducting research
female microbiologist looking in microscope
Lab Technician
clinical technician testing blood types
female pathologist looking through microscope
Registered Nurse
male nurse checking elderly woman's pulse
female doctor talking to elderly patient
Physician Asst.
physician assistant giving toddler a checkup
Health Educator
Health educators at wellness fair

Zika in the News