Zika Facts – What You Should Know
Recently the media has reported known cases of the Zika Virus in our area. Before the beginning of this year, Zika was a widely unknown medical condition in the United States. As always, we want everyone to be safe and healthy. Keep yourself protected with these Zika Facts.
The Zika Facts
The Center For Diseases Control (CDC) has issued a travel alert for areas that are prone to Zika transmission. The travel alert is specific to woman who are pregnant or may become pregnant due to Zika’s effects on new born children. The travel alert is in effect for the South American, Southern Caribbean, and South Mexican regions. If you are pregnant or may be become pregnant please consult with your Doctor before traveling to these areas.
In the United States, a Zika transmission is extremely rare, with fewer than 1,000 cases being reported per year. In most cases there are no symptoms, so a Zika infection will require a medical diagnosis. Lab test or imaging is often required to confirm the contraction of Zika. Zika can be spread by animals and insects, it is most commonly spread by Misquotes. The infection can also be spread through sexual transmission, if your partner has contracted the disease. Unless your are pregnant, the effects of Zika are short term and will often resolve themselves within a few days or few weeks of seeking medical attention.
More Zika Facts
- The Symptoms Of A Zika Infection Are Usually Mild. Those who experience symptoms of Zika will notice a fever, rash, muscle and joint pain, red and itchy eyes, headaches, and pain behind the eyes. 80% of people who are infected with Zika have no symptoms at all. Rare complications from Zika can include internal bleeding, this was the cause of the first U.S. death in the territory of Puerto Rico. As of now there is no effective treatment available for Zika. For common cases, over the counter fever and pain medicine can be used to combat symptoms.
- Transmission. As noted above, Zika is most commonly spread by infected mosquitoes. The spreading of this infection is common to viruses like West Nile, Yellow Fever, and Dengue Virus. A person is bitten by an infected mosquito and contracts the virus. That same person is bitten by another mosquito then that mosquito carries the virus to the next person bitten. This very easy transmission of the virus can cause rapid spreading.
- Remember if you do become infected with Zika, you can spread it to your partner sexually. If you are pregnant and your partner contracts Zika or has visited an affected area, the CDC recommends abstaining from sex for the duration of the pregnancy. Zika can be spread sexually form both male or female partners. It is recommended that anyone traveling to the affected areas use condoms for sexual activity for 6 months upon returning home.
- Unborn Babies Are Most At Risk For Zika Complications. When a woman who is pregnant contracts Zika, it is her unborn baby who is most at risk. As of right now it is not known at what stages in the pregnancy the unborn child is most at risk. Zika can cause Microcephaly. Microcephaly is proven to cause mental disabilities and delays in speech, movement, and growth. Babies born infected with Zika have abnormally small heads which complicates brain development and leads to Microcephaly.
- Zika Has Reached Puerto Rico’s Mosquito Population. In December of 2015 Puerto Rico confirmed its first locally acquired Zika infection. This confirmed the fear that mosquito population infected with Zika could migrate North. Warm tropical like climates are where Zika infested mosquitoes will thrive the most. In the United states the Gulf Cities of Houston, New Orleans, Tampa, and surrounding areas are most prone to home mosquitoes that carry Zika in the future.
- Travelers Are Bringing The Virus To The United States. In 2007, the first case of Zika was reported in the United States from a person traveling back from an affected area. From 2007 to 2014, 14 travelers have returned to the United States and tested positive for Zika.
- It Is Highly Unlikely That Travelers Will Bring Infected Mosquitoes Back With Them. Adult Misquotes are very sensitive and fragile. In the event a mosquito gets in your luggage or attaches to you, it will most likely die before you return home. Also only a small fraction of mosquitoes are infected with the virus in epidemic areas. The biggest concern is an infected human passing the virus along to the mosquito population in the United States.
- You Can Prevent Zika Transmission By Protecting Yourself. If it is stop-ed-meds that you travel to areas prone to the Zika outbreak use bug repellent. To be most effective when protecting yourself from Zika make sure the repellent contains Picaridin, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus, 20% DEET or greater, or IR353. Repellent should be used whenever you are outdoors. Also avoid being outside near dusk and dawn, at these times mosquitoes are more active.
If you are going to be traveling to a Zika epidemic area or you would just like to know more Zika facts, visit the Centers For Disease Control Website for more information.