- What is the Zika Virus?Zika is a rapidly spreading, mosquito-born virus, which has been on the radar since the first known outbreak on the island of Yap in Micronesia in 2007.
- What is the history?The Zika Virus was first identified in Brazil in May of 2015. While the disease itself is usually mild with fever, rash, conjunctivitis, and aching joints which begin to develop 2-7 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito.
- How can Zika affect pregnancy?Zika can have devastating effects when the infection manifests itself during pregnancy. Researchers from the CDC have been working with Brazilian scientists. They have found the Zika infection in the placentas, brains and amniotic fluid of babies who have either been diagnosed with microcephaly (http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/birthdefects/microcephaly.html or died in the womb.
- Is Zika in the US?According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), the Zika has not been transmitted to the United States, however the species of mosquitoes (Aedes genus) that is biologically capable of transmitting the virus are present in the US. During the week of January 10 -14, 2016, cases of Zika showed up in Texas, however it was confirmed that those people
- Where is it now?The warning about the mosquito-borne illness encompasses 14 countries and areas, which include: Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Suriname, Venezuela and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. This could increase.
- Is there a treatment or vaccine?No.
- What can be done if a person has Zika?General recommendations for those who develop Zika are to get plenty of rest, drink fluids to prevent dehydration and take acetaminophen (Tylenol) or paracetamol to reduce fever and pain. It is recommended to NOT take aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
- Is there direct person to person infection?No. According to the CDC, during the first week of infection, the virus has been found in the blood and can pass from an infected person to another mosquito through mosquito bites. An infected mosquito can spread the virus to countless others. Prevent others from becoming sick by avoiding mosquito bites during the first week of the illness.
- What about travel and Zika?The CDC recommends that pregnant women of any trimester should consider postponing trips to areas where the virus has been identified. The CDC has set up a special portion of their website to assist those who are traveling with special Zika information.
- Where to learn more-
US Centers for Disease Control - website with facts and information; pdf fact sheets.
European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control - website with facts and information; pdf fact sheets.
Medical News Today -article with detailed facts.
United States: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/
Canada also has issued a travel notice: http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/tmp-pmv/notices-avis/notices-avis-eng.php?id=143