Concerned about the Zika Virus?
You should be!
Everyday we hear more stories in the news about the rapid spread of the Zika Virus.
Disturbing images of babies born with microcephaly, severe brain malformations, and
other birth defects are heart-breaking.
It is reaching epidemic proportions in more and more areas and devastating the health
of thousands of people, worldwide.
Just today, I learned that the Zika Virus is now in parts of Florida.
What is the Zika Virus?
Where did it come from?
How is it transmitted?
How can we protect ourselves and our loved ones?
Knowledge is power.
A Few Facts about the Zika Virus
According to Wikipedia, Zika virus (ZIKV) is a member of the virus family Flaviviridae
and the genus Flavivirus.
It is spread by daytime-active Aedes mosquitoes, such as A. aegyptiand A. albopictus.
Its name comes from the Zika Forest of Uganda, where the virus was first isolated in 1947.
Zika virus is related to the dengue, yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis, and West Nile viruses.
Since the 1950s, it has been known to occur within a narrow equatorial belt from Africa to Asia.
From 2007 to 2016, the virus spread eastward, across the Pacific Ocean to the Americas, where
the 2015–16 Zika virus epidemic reached pandemic levels.
The infection, known as Zika fever or Zika virus disease, often causes no or only mild symptoms,
similar to a very mild form of dengue fever.
While there is no specific treatment, paracetamol (acetaminophen) and rest may help with the
As of 2016, the illness cannot be prevented by medications or vaccines.
Zika can also spread from a pregnant woman to her fetus.
This can result in microcephaly, severe brain malformations, and other birth defects.
Zika infections in adults may result rarely in Guillain–Barré syndrome.
In January 2016, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued travel
guidance on affected countries, including the use of enhanced precautions, and guidelines for
pregnant women including considering postponing travel.
Other governments or health agencies also issued similar travel warnings,while Colombia, the
Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, and Jamaica advised women to postpone getting
pregnant until more is known about the risks.
Want to Learn More?
Check out this detailed infographic shared by mphonline.org, which provides valuable insights
about Zika virus–presenting a brief history of the spread of the infection caused by the virus,
common symptoms, the transmission map and the prevention tips.
It is important to note that:
*Pregnant women should avoid traveling to infected or mosquito-ridden areas, since the
virus can transfer from mother to fetus, sometimes causing microcephaly in newborns.
*Anyone infected is at risk of developing Guillain-Barré syndrome, a disorder where the body’s
immune system attacks nerves, sometimes causing paralysis.
The prevalence of Guillain-Barré syndrome is around 6 to 40 cases per 1 million people.
Key Zika Prevention Tips
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has issued some prevention tips based on what they
currently know about Zika, although more research is still being conducted:
*Do not travel to countries with high transmission rates.
*Wear protective clothing and use a bug repellent spray during they day since most mosquitoes
that carry the virus are out during that time.
*Make sure to always reapply bug repellent according to product directions.
*Use protective mosquito netting–especially for newborns in cribs or playpens.
*If you are infected with the virus, avoid sexual contact.
Are you concerned about the Zika Virus?
Share your thoughts and comments with us.