Zika Virus: Important Facts
Sunday, August 14, 2016
The Zika virus has recently spread from South and Central America to mainland United States, causing the CDC to issue an historic travel warning for pregnant women visiting the Miami area. Florida is a popular travel destination for people from all over the country, but particularly from Midwestern states.
Zika virus is now known to cause birth defects, which is why the W.H.O and CDC have urged pregnant women not to travel to regions where Zika virus is known to be. All pregnant women and their partners who have been to areas of the world where Zika exists are urged to get tested for the infection.
Here are some important facts about Zika for anyone planning to travel to Miami this summer.
What is the Zika Virus?
The Zika virus is an infection related to dengue, yellow fever, and West Nile virus. Almost no one in the Americas is immune, although almost 80% of those infected have no symptoms and those who experience symptoms typically recover within 7 days.
Unborn babies are the most affected by the Zika virus, as it is known to cause microcephaly, unusually small heads and brain damage, as well as blindness, deafness, seizures, and other congenital defects.
What are the symptoms?
Common symptoms include a fever, typically lower than 102°, an itchy, pink rash, bloodshot eyes, sensitivity to light, headaches, and joint pain.
Which areas of the country is Zika likely to be?
The Zika virus is spread by Aedes genus mosquitoes, also known as the yellow fever mosquito, which bite during the daytime and breed in very small pools of water (as small as a bottle cap). This type of mosquito is common in Florida and along the Gulf Coast.
Is there a vaccine or a treatment for people infected with the virus?
No, there is neither a vaccine nor a treatment for those infected.
If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, talk to your doctor before traveling abroad or to Florida and the Gulf Coast.