Zika Virus: What You Should Know

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Zika Virus: What You Should Know

What is the Zika Virus? A virus that is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. The Zika virus was discovered in the Zika Forest of Uganda in 1947. In February 2016, the World Health Organization declared the zika virus a public health emergency. 

Why are we worried about pregnant women? The Zika virus is transmitted from mother-to-child and has detrimental effects on the fetus, most notably, a birth defect called Micocephaly where the baby’s head is smaller than expected. A baby with Microcephaly may have the following issues: seizures, developmental delays, intellectual disabilities, feeding problems, hearing loss, and problems with movement or balance.

Countries with Zika as of now: Brazil, Mexico, Cape Verde, Aruba, Barbados, Bonaire, Curacao, Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Puerto Rico, Saint Martin, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sint Maarten, Trinidad and Tobago, US Virgin Islands, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, American Somoa, Marshall Islands, New Caledonia, Samoa, Tonga, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Suriname, Venezuela

Additionally, Zika can spread through bodily fluids during sexual activity. In other words,, if your partner has recently traveled to a country infected by Zika, they could give it to you.

What are the symptoms? Fever, rash, conjunctivitis, pain in the joints

Prevention: There is NO vaccine or treatment to protect people from Zika. To protect yourself you should: avoid travel to the infected countries, avoid mosquito bites by using insect repellent and clothes that cover your body, avoid being outside during morning and dusk (when mosquitos are most prevalent), use mosquito netting, use condoms if you are having sexual contact with someone who recently traveled to a zika infected area.

 

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