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The Infamous Zika Virus

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In the past few months there has been an outburst of Zika Virus in the world.  One of the most dangerous things about this virus is that very few people know much about it.

What is Zika Virus Disease?

Zika virus disease (Zika)is caused by the Zika virus, which is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The symptoms are usually mild and last for several days to a week after exposure. People rarely get sick enough to go to the hospital, and they very few people actually die of Zika. Because of the mild symptoms, many people might not realize they have been infected. However, Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause serious birth defects including microcephaly (abnormally small head at birth), as well as other severe fetal brain defects. Once a person has been infected, they are likely to be immune from future infections.

Treatment

  • There is no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat Zika virus.
  • Treat the symptoms:
    • Get plenty of rest.
    • Drink fluids to prevent dehydration.
    • Take medicine such as acetaminophen (Tylenol®) or paracetamol to reduce fever and pain.
    • Do not take aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) until dengue can be ruled out to reduce the risk of bleeding.
    • If you are taking medicine for another medical condition, talk to your doctor or other healthcare provider before taking additional medication.
    • If you have Zika, try to prevent further mosquito bites for the first week of your illness because during the first week of infection, Zika virus can be found in the blood and passed from an infected person to a mosquito through mosquito bites. An infected mosquito can then spread the virus to other people.

Is Zika in US States?

  • No local mosquito-borne Zika virus disease cases have been reported in US states, but there have been travel-associated cases.
  • With the recent outbreaks, the number of Zika cases among travelers visiting or returning to the United States will likely increase.
  • These imported cases could result in local spread of the virus in some areas of the United States.

Areas with active mosquito-borne transmission of Zika virus

  • Prior to 2015, Zika virus outbreaks occurred in areas of Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands.
  • In May 2015, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) issued an alert regarding the first confirmed Zika virus infections in Brazil.
  • Currently, outbreaks are occurring in many countries and territories.

Zika virus will continue to spread and it will be difficult to determine how and where the virus will spread over time.

 

We hope this blog educated you about Zika virus and, in return, helps you stay safe and healthy.

 

For more information about Zika Virus Disease you can visit:

http://www.cdc.gov/zika/symptoms/index.html