It seems like everyone is worried about something called Zika virus, but what is it? Should you be worried? Can you avoid it?
Zika is a virus that is transferred to humans by a mosquito bite. This is same mosquito that also transfers dengue and chikungunya. The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week after being bitten by an infected mosquito. In some cases, the person can be infected but not realize it. In addition, a Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause a serious birth defect called microcephaly, and other severe fetal brain defects. Zika virus has also been linked to Guillain-Barre syndrome, where the nervous system is affected.
There is very little we know about the Zika virus. New research is being published every day. A blood or urine test can be performed to determine whether a person is infected with the Zika virus. However, the test takes a long time and isn’t available at every lab. It does looks like once a person has been infected by the Zika virus, he or she is likely to be protected from future infections. Currently there is no known vaccine against the Zika virus or a medicine to treat a person with the Zika virus. Hydration, rest & Tylenol are the best treatment options. Avoid non steroidal anti -inflammatory.
The Zika virus spreads to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. People can transfer Zika through unprotected sex with an infected person, and the virus can also be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus. In order to prevent a Zika virus infection learn about mosquito avoidance and travel awareness. Visit the CDC Zika Prevention web site for more information and areas to avoid.
Right now the Zika virus is highly active in Brazil, where the Summer Olympic and Paralympic are scheduled to take place this summer. Over 500,000 tourist and athletes are expected to come to Rio. It is very risky and there is a chance of global contamination.
Keep yourself informed! Read the CDC Zika Information and the World Health Organization Zika information to learn more about the virus. Make a smart choice, especially if you are traveling or might be pregnant or planning on a pregnancy. If you traveled to an area where Zika is common and/or you think you have been exposed to Zika, SEE YOUR DOCTOR immediately.
Are there any questions you have about the Zika Virus? Leave it in the comments below.