You have likely heard about the Zika virus from the news, and you may have many questions about it. What are the symptoms of a Zika virus infection? Does the virus really cause microcephaly? Here are five things you need to know about Zika:
1. The virus is transmitted through mosquitoes, sex, and from mother to child.
The Zika virus is primarily transmitted to people by mosquitoes. However, the virus can also spread through sexual transmission, and from mother to child through pregnancy. Here are ways you can reduce your risk of transmission:
- Use an EPA-registered insect repellant whenever you are outdoors.
- Don't open your windows or doors inside unless they have screens that trap mosquitoes.
- Use a condom with your sexual partner.
2. There is enough evidence to prove the Zika virus causes microcephaly.
According to an article published by the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, the CDC concludes there is enough evidence that Zika is the cause of microcephaly. A study was conducted in which a spinal tap, MRI, and CT scan was performed on 23 babies with microcephaly in Brazil. The results from the CT scans and MRIs were similar for all the babies, and six of the babies had the virus present in their spinal fluid. To schedule a CT scan, contact a company like Hudson Valley Imaging.
3. In adults, the infection is mild.
In adults, the Zika virus causes a mild infection, and some people may not have symptoms at all. If someone does experience symptoms, they can be similar to the flu and last anywhere from a few days to a week. Here are the symptoms:
- Joint or muscle pain
- Red eyes
4. Women in certain areas should delay pregnancy.
If you are trying to become pregnant, talk to your doctor about Zika, as well as your risk factors to determine if you should delay pregnancy. Women who have been diagnosed with Zika, or who have a partner who has been diagnosed, should wait 8 weeks before getting pregnant. If you live in an area with active Zika transmission, your doctor may recommend you delay pregnancy longer.
5. Take precautions when traveling.
You should take proper precautions when traveling to areas with Zika virus transmission. Here are the precautions you should take:
- Prevent transmission with insect repellant and condom use.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants to prevent mosquito bites.
- Use a mosquito net while sleeping, no matter if you're camping or sleeping in a home.
- Eliminate places where mosquitoes reproduce, like bins and containers of standing water.
These are five things you should know about Zika. If you have any questions about the virus or microcephaly, contact your doctor.