Zika virus is spread to people through bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito(same mosquitoes that spread dengue and chikungunya viruses).
The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting from several days to a week. About 1 in 5 people infected with Zika virus become ill. Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon. Deaths are rare.
The most common Symptoms of Zika virus disease are
- Joint pain
- Conjunctivitis (red eyes)
- Aedes mosquitoes typically lay eggs in and near standing water in things like buckets, bowls, animal dishes, flower pots and vases. They are aggressive daytime biters, prefer to bite people, and live indoors and outdoors near people.
- A mother already infected with Zika virus near the time of delivery can pass on the virus to her newborn around the time of birth, but this is rare.
- It is possible that Zika virus could be passed from mother to fetus during pregnancy. This mode of transmission is being investigated.
- To date, there are no reports of infants getting Zika virus through breastfeeding.
- There has been one report of possible spread of the virus through blood transfusion and one report of possible spread of the virus through sexual contact.
The CDC has advised pregnant women to consider postponing trips to 14 countries and territories in Central and South America and the Caribbean where mosquitos have spread the Zika virus. These 14 countries and territories are Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Suriname, Venezuela, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
Recently, CDC has further added eight countries and territories to the list of Zika hot spots, namely : Barbados, Bolivia, Ecuador, Guadeloupe, Saint Martin, Guyana, Cape Verde and Samoa.
- No vaccine or medications are available to prevent or treat Zika infections.
- Symptomatic treatment includes adequate rest, plenty of fluids, Paracetamol or acetaminophen to relieve fever and pain.
- Do not take aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like ibuprofen and naproxen, until dengue can be ruled out to reduce the risk of hemorrhage (bleeding).
This must be the most important section to remember.
There is no vaccine for Zika virus infection. Prevention is mainly by avoiding mosquito bites.
- Use insect repellents. Most insect repellents can be used on children. If you use both sunscreen and insect repellent, apply the sunscreen first and then the repellent.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
- Use air conditioning or window/door screens to keep mosquitoes outside. If required, sleep under a mosquito bed net.
- Help reduce the number of mosquitoes inside and outside your home or hotel room by emptying standing water from containers such as flowerpots or buckets.
During the first week of infection, Zika virus can be found in the blood and passed from an infected person to another mosquito through mosquito bites. To help prevent others from getting sick, avoid mosquito bites during the first week of illness.
P.S. This post has been written with information from CDC website.
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