What is the Zika Virus?
The Zika virus was discovered in 1947, it was named after the Zika forest in Uganda. The first human cases of the virus was discovered in 1952.
There has been outbreaks of the Zika virus in tropical area like Africa, the Pacific Islands, and South East Asia. The Zika virus is a harmful virus that is spread by a bite of an infected mosquito. The species of the mosquito is called Aedes, these particular species bite at night and during the day.
The Zika virus can be transmitted from a pregnant woman to the fetus, which is very dangerous. Being infected with the zika virus during pregnancy can cause specific birth defects. The symptoms of Zika are very similar to other diseases, this means that many cases may not have been reported. At least 14 cases have been documented before 2007.
Misconceptions of the Zika Virus
- Unfortunately, there is no medication or vaccine for Zika virus, the local mosquito borne virus transmission has been reported in the United States as well. Sadly, there aren’t any known cures so far. There are specific actions that can help and lessen the pain but no complete cures exist.
- The situation with Zika Virus puts us all at risk, especially pregnant women. To keep us all safe, it’s important to have a clear idea of what it is that we are up against. Misconceptions never help so make sure to be aware of all the issues regarding this virus so you can educate your friends and family – especially when travelling.
- Unfortunately a lot of people who have become infected with the zika virus do not show any symptoms. The most common symptoms include, fever, joint pain, red eyes, and rash. Someone can also have muscle pain and headache.
- The symptoms of the zika virus can last from a week to several days. Thankfully, people rarely die of the zika virus, they won’t even get sick enough to go to the hospital.
- Zika Virus can be very risky for certain people. The zika infection during pregnancy can cause serious birth defects – specifically of the brain called microcephaly. Not only this but other problems have been discovered among fetuses and infants infected with the virus before birth. Some of these problems include defects of the eyes, hearing deficits and stunted growth.
How to prevent The Zika Virus
- It is crucial to use insect repellent that has DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol, or 2-undecanone
- These insect repellents are proven safe and effective even for pregnant and breastfeeding women
- It is important to use insect repellent as directed
- Insect repellents are not safe to use on babies younger than 2 months old
- Products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-methane-diol is not safe for children younger than 3 years old
The clothing you wear
- It is crucial you wear long sleeved shirts, long bangs and treat your clothing with permethrin or buy pre-treated clothes
Protecting your home
- It is important to stay in places with window and door screens so that you can keep the mosquitos out
- Staying in a place with air conditioning can help
- Take steps to control mosquitoes inside and outside your home
- It is important to cover infants younger than two months in carriers, strollers or cribs, and to use mosquito netting to cover them
- It is crucial to sleep under a mosquito bed net or screened rooms in order to keep the mosquitos outdoors
How Zika is diagnosed
- The diagnosis of Zika is based on someone’s recent travel history, their symptoms, and final test results
- A blood or urine test can confirm a Zika infection
- The symptoms of Zika are very similar to other illnesses that are spread through mosquito bites
- Your doctor or other healthcare provider may order tests to look for several types of infections.
What to do if you have Zika
There is no specific medicine or vaccine for Zika virus but there are things you can do to get better:
- Drink a lot of fluids to prevent dehydration.
- Take acetaminophen to reduce fever and pain
- Do not take aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- If you are taking medicine for another medical condition, talk to your healthcare provider before taking additional medication.