The Zika Virus: An Overview

Zika Virus OverviewLouisville orthopedic surgeon Dr. Stacie Grossfeld is very interested in learning more about the Zika virus. One important reason is that joint pain is one of the major symptoms of Zika. And in reading about Zika, Dr. Grossfeld created an informative PowerPoint presentation, the: Zika Virus Overview, to share so that others can also become informed about this important public health issue.

Follow along for an overview of the Zika virus, and for more detailed information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.

Understanding Zika

Zika is a virus spread by the bite of an infected Aedea species mosquito or through sex from a person who has the virus. Zika typically causes mild symptoms characterized as a fever, rash, joint pain and red eyes. While these symptoms usually only last a couple of days to a week in time, you may not show any symptoms even if you are infected, or the symptoms may not be noticeable.

Yet for one segment of the population, Zika is very serious. Zika poses a huge risk to unborn fetuses. The Zika virus has been connected to a birth defect called microcephaly along with other severe brain defects. Find more detailed information about pregnancy outcomes and Zika from the CDC.

A Brief History of the Zika Virus

The Zika virus originated in Uganda in 1947 when it was initially detected in monkeys. Nigeria reported the first human case in 1954.

Since this time, the virus has spread to other locations around the world including: South America, Africa, South East Asia and the Pacific Islands.

In May 2015, Brazil became a new site for the rapidly spreading virus. In July 2016, U.S. health officials reported 14 cases of Zika in a neighborhood in Miami, Florida.

People around the world, and especially those traveling to infected areas, are at risk of the Zika virus. Unfortunately, there is no current vaccine or medication to treat Zika. However, there are several things you can do to protect yourself against the spread of the Zika virus.

5 Tips to Help Prevent the Zika Virus

If you are interested in learning about ways to prevent Zika, here are five helpful tips.

  1. Avoid traveling to areas affected by the Zika virus.
  2. Always practice safe sex.
  3. Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – registered insect repellents.
  4. Use mosquito nets, screened-in windows and doors to keep mosquitoes outside the home.
  5. Empty, clean and scrub items that hold water, including things like tires, buckets, planters, toys, pools, bird baths, flowerpots and trash cans.

Zika and Pregnancy:

The Zika virus is transmitted through sex from a person who has Zika to sex partners. The only way to eliminate the risk of getting Zika from sex is abstaining. You can protect yourself from the Zika virus during sex by practicing safe sex through condoms, dental dams and birth control. Zika Virus and pregnant Women

Pregnant women can pass the Zika virus to a fetus during pregnancy or around the time of birth. This virus is known for causing severe birth defects like the case of microcephaly. This disease is characterized by a below-average head size and inhibits the brain from growing at a normal rate. Zika can cause fatality, disabilities and developmental delays in children.

Due to the Zika virus, some areas are declaring a state of emergency. Some doctors describe this virus as a “pandemic in progress,” according to BBC News. If you are worried about becoming infected by the Zika virus, you should try to avoid infected areas while traveling. You should also engage in safe sex practices and use mosquito repellent when outdoors.

If you are concerned that you may have been exposed to the Zika virus, you should seek medical help as soon as possible.