Zika Virus Information
Zika is a mosquito borne disease spreading in Latin America and the Caribbean. While the disease is usually mild in adults, reports show that it may affect brain development in unborn children. Until more is known, pregnant women should consider postponing travel to Zika affected areas.
No vaccine exists for Zika. The Zika virus is spread through a mosquito bite from a mosquito carrying the virus. It can also be transmitted through sex from an infected person, to his or her sex partner. The Zika virus can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus. Carriers do not always have symptoms. The mosquitoes that are known to carry this disease breed and lay eggs in standing water, and are usually aggressive daytime biters. Be aware and take appropriate precautions. Here are a few recommended ways to protect you from this disease:
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites by dressing appropriately, wearing insect repellent that contains DEET & by having screens on all windows & doors.
- If you, or your partner, are pregnant or trying to get pregnant, avoid areas with Zika if possible. If it is essential to travel to these areas, talk to your health care provider before travel.
- Also condoms can reduce your chance of getting Zika from sex. To be effective, condoms should be used from start to finish, every time during vaginal, anal, and oral sex and the sharing of sex toys.
- Get rid of , cover, dump, or modify water holding receptacles, such as used tires, flower pots, pools, bird baths, pet bowls, or ask your local health department to treat areas of standing water that cannot be dumped.
Many people infected with Zika virus won’t have symptoms or will only have mild symptoms. The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, conjunctivitis. Other symptoms may include muscle pain and headaches. Zika is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week. Infection during pregnancy can cause certain birth defects, such as microcephaly. Microcephaly is a birth defect where a baby’s head is smaller than expected when compared to babies of the same sex and age.
Who should be tested?
If you are pregnant see your doctor or other healthcare provider if you/or your partner has developed symptoms and you live in or have recently traveled to an area with Zika. Your doctor or other healthcare provider may order blood tests to look for Zika or other similar viruses like dengue or chikungunya. Once a person has been infected, he or she is likely to be protected from future infections.
Where does Zika occur?
Zika began in Africa, it can also be found in Southeast Asia, Central and South America, the Caribbean and Mexico. For more information on this virus, go to: Zika Virus