Zika Virus: What You Must Know

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The Buzz on One other Mosquito-Borne Illness

You could have seen the latest information headlines about Zika virus, a uncommon mosquito-borne illness that has made its solution to the US. Whereas there are not any documented instances so far related to native transmission within the continental United States, Zika virus has been reported in vacationers getting back from different contaminated international locations – and instances proceed to pop up on a close to every day foundation. Learn on to be taught extra about Zika virus. 

Q: How is Zika virus transmitted?

A: Zika virus is unfold via the chew of an contaminated Aedes genus of mosquitoes, which is similar kind of mosquito that carries dengue fever and chikungunya. Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which reside predominantly in tropical and sub-tropical areas, are the first carriers, however Aedes albopictus mosquitoes may also transmit the virus. This species, generally often known as the Asian tiger mosquito, is discovered a lot farther north in the summertime.

Q: The place is Zika virus discovered?

A: Zika virus was first recognized in 1947 in Africa as an an infection of rhesus monkeys within the Zika forest of Uganda. It was later confirmed to trigger human illness in 1968. For a few years infections seemed to be each uncommon occasions and restricted to Africa, India, Southeast Asia and western Pacific Island. Extra not too long ago, epidemics have unfold throughout the Japanese Pacific and into south and Central America. There have additionally been stories of Zika virus instances in Illinois, Florida, Texas and New York, however all the people obtained the illness whereas touring to contaminated international locations. 

Q: What are the possibilities of an outbreak in the US?

A: Whereas the likelihood of contaminated mosquitoes touring to the US is unlikely, there’s purpose to consider that Zika virus can unfold regionally. If extra imported instances proceed to floor, particularly because the summer season months close to, it might end in human-to-mosquito-to-human unfold of the virus in areas of the nation the place mosquito vectors are current. The Nationwide Pest Administration Affiliation (NPMA), Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention (CDC) and different group are monitoring the scenario intently.

Q: What are the signs of Zika virus?

A: Basically, most instances trigger no signs. Solely about 1 in 5 individuals contaminated with Zika virus turn into sick. Those that do develop signs usually expertise a number of days of gentle complications, fever, rash, conjunctivitis (crimson eyes) and joint ache.

Q: What’s the therapy for Zika virus?

A: Zika virus is a self-limiting illness that usually solely requires supportive care. Sadly, there is no such thing as a medication to deal with Zika virus, nor any vaccine to stop it presently. Nonetheless, the U.S. authorities has launched an effort to develop a vaccine given the latest surge in instances within the Americas. 

The 20 p.c of contaminated individuals who really develop signs ought to get loads of relaxation, keep properly hydrated by consuming loads of fluids, and take acetaminophen for ache. It’s necessary to keep away from aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicine (NSAIDs) till one other an infection like dengue fever will be dominated out.

Q: Can an infection in a pregnant girl trigger beginning defects?

A: Little is understood concerning the affiliation between being pregnant and Zika virus, however research of doable mother-to-child transmission of Zika virus are ongoing in Brazil, the place there’s a main outbreak of the illness. It’s thought {that a} mom who’s already contaminated close to the time of supply can cross on the virus to her new child, however that is uncommon.

Zika virus has additionally been linked to a neurological dysfunction referred to as microcephaly, which is understood to halt mind improvement in new child infants, trigger infants to be born with small heads and result in early dying. It must be famous that 2,782 instances of microcephaly have been reported in Brazil in 2015, when the Zika virus outbreak started, in comparison with 147 instances in 2014 and 167 instances in 2013.

Q: How can I forestall Zika virus?

A: The NPMA urges individuals to guard their pores and skin from mosquito bites when outdoor by making use of an efficient insect repellant containing at the very least 20% DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon-eucalyptus. People who find themselves spending lengthy quantities of time outdoor also needs to take into account sporting lengthy pants and lengthy sleeved shirts to restrict publicity to mosquitoes. The kind of mosquito that carries Zika virus is a daytime biter, so taking preventive measures always of the day is essential.

It’s additionally necessary to take steps round one’s property to fight mosquito nesting and breeding websites. This consists of eliminating standing water in or across the house, maintaining home windows and doorways correctly screened and repairing even the smallest tear or gap.

Study extra about mosquitoes and mosquito prevention here.