What You Should Know About Zika Virus
Zika virus can be termed as an emerging mosquito borne virus that has got the world worried. Even though the virus seems to have strong roots in African countries, it has since gone global with infections being recorded not just in Africa but also the Pacific, Asia and America. Brazil and Colombia are the latest to countries to record Zika virus disease outbreaks. The spread can be rapid considering that people travel from place to place and it is therefore easy to get infected and carry the disease back home where infections continue through mosquito bites.
This virus is transmitted by the Aedes Aegypti mosquito that loves tropical regions. The mosquito gets infected by biting infected people before it then transmits the disease through the same bites. This mosquito is not only known for the Zika virus transmission, but also yellow fever, Chikungunya and dengue. Apart from the mosquito bites, it is emerging that this virus can also be transmitted sexually. Evidence also shows that it is possible for the virus to be transmitted through blood transfusion.
The fact is that it can be hard to detect the virus because very few infected people show any signs of infections. This means that only a small number become ill after infection. The most common symptoms of the virus are joint pain, conjunctivitis and fever. Headaches, muscle pains and malaise are the other possible symptoms. The incubation period is yet to be established, but the symptoms are likely to set a few days after exposure to the virus. This virus can remain in the blood of infected persons up to a week or even longer, but they infected rarely get sick enough to need any hospital visit.
The diagnosis of the diseases is based on the symptoms and travel history. However confirmations are only possible through laboratory blood test and the testing of other body fluids like saliva and urine.
Even though the infected do not show severe symptoms that puts them at risk, the viral disease does have potential complications that make it necessary for precautions to be taken. There is a link between the virus and microcephaly, which is a condition that has babies being born with smaller brains and heads. In severely affected areas, there also seems to be an increase in Guillain-Barre syndrome.
The mild nature of Zika makes it require no specific treatment and there is actually no particular vaccine or medicine for the disease. The infected can only treat the symptoms to enjoy relief and this is done through drinking enough fluids, plenty of rest and medicines for fever and pain that comes with the virus. It is advisable to talk to a health care provider if you are not too sure what medications are best for the symptoms that you have.
Mosquito breeding sites should be eliminated to keep infections at bay. Pregnant women or those who are trying to get pregnant should avoid travels to areas that have the virus actively circulating to protect their unborn babies from the complications of the disease. Considering that the virus can sexually be transmitted, then the use of condoms should be embraced.
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