Mercer Professor: Doctors working toward Zika virus vaccine
MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Only one case of the Zika virus has spread to Georgia, but it has affected hundreds of thousands of people around the world.
“They do predict Zika will emerge in the US, they do predict that it will be transmitted from a traveler to the local mosquito population and then from there to other people,” said Amanda Chase, assistant professor of microbiology at Mercer University.
It sounds like something to be worried about, but experts like Dr. Amanda Chase have known about the Zika virus for awhile.
“The Zika virus is a mosquito born virus it’s spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito and it’s been around for decades,” said Chase.
She’s worked at the CDC and now works at Mercer’s School of Medicine.
“The patient experiences fever, a rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis,” said Chase.
So they’re basically flu-like symptoms.
“The patient remains infected less than a week and the virus only stays in your blood 2 to 7 days,” said Chase.
Chase says the biggest threat could be against pregnant women.
“When a pregnant woman becomes infected with the virus it’s been shown to cause birth defects in the babies,” said Chase.
But Chase’s colleagues at the CDC are in Puerto Rico right now, and are a few of the doctors trying to help.
“They do need virus to grow to make those vaccines,” said Chase.
If they can re-create the virus, they can figure out how it works and make a vaccine.
If they do, it could help millions of people.
“In 2015 it popped up in Brazil, and since then there have been 1 million infections of Zika virus,” said Chase.
Chase says one case of Zika has been sexually transmitted in the U.S.
For more information about if you should get checked for Zika virus, head over the CDC’s website.