Zika Virus – What You Need to Know

    How much do you know about the Zika virus? It has recently captured headlines and while there is no need for panic, it’s a good idea to stay informed.

    It’s important to note that the virus is not considered deadly and hospitalization is not typical for those infected, however the virus can cause birth defects in the babies of pregnant women. Currently, there is no vaccine or medication to prevent or treat Zika. The virus is spread to people through mosquito bites. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), common symptoms include fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis. About 1 in 5 people infected with Zika virus will become ill.

    The CDC states that outbreaks have been reported in tropical Africa, Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands. However in May 2015, the first Zika virus infection was confirmed in Brazil, and outbreaks are happening in other countries. Areas with active Zika virus transmission include parts of Central and South America, as well as the Caribbean. Keep in mind, no locally transmitted cases have been reported in the continental Unites States, but cases have been reported in returning travelers.  The CDC recommends that pregnant women or women trying to get pregnant should take precautions, including postponing travel plans to certain countries or territories. 

    If you plan on traveling to an area where Zika virus is found, the CDC lists these steps to reduce your risk of infection: 

    • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
    • Stay in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.
    • Sleep under a mosquito bed net if you are overseas or outside and are not able to protect yourself from mosquito bites.
    • Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents

    Learn more: 

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