No sooner than the epidemic of Ebola came to a calm (at least most of it), the world is now confronted with a new virus in the form of Zika fever. The virus has been affecting people in Brazil, Recife- in north east, Americas, and various other regions. The grief is that the virus has only been spreading ever since. Like dengue and malaria, Zika is also brought to mankind by the world’s most dangerous species - the Mosquitoes!
The question of the hour is; How dangerous is the virus? How does it spread? Is it fatal? Will it axe travelling? Keep reading while I acquaint you with the hazards of the virus and the preventive measures you can take to stay safe.
Zika Virus (ZIKV)
Zika Virus, as known scientifically, is a mosquito-borne disease disguised by fever known as Zika fever. The virus although recently brought to lime light, has been in existence since the 50s. However, the virus was unfamiliar to the world as it was more prominent only within a narrow equatorial band from Africa to Asia. The mosquito borne disease is spread by the biting of a specific species of mosquitoes called Aedes mosquito. These mosquitoes bite during daytime. The disease isn’t severe and hence hospitalization is not mandatory.
Common symptoms of the virus comprise of fever, conjunctivitis, joint pain and rash. Muscle painand headaches may accompany the aforementioned symptoms in some cases. The symptoms are said to last from a couple of days to a week. The good news is that the disease isn’t fatal. Death is quite an uncommon occurrence in the case of a person suffering from Zika Fever.
There is no vaccine identified for this troublesome disease yet. The best you can do to shoo away the disease is to get ample rest and intake fluids in plenty. Paracetamol would be good to aid pain from rashes or relieve headaches. Until dengue is ruled out, avoid Aspirin and ibuprofen.
Just about two years back the virus made its presence felt in various regions across the globe. Spreading from the Pacific Ocean to French Polynesia, Zika soon travelled to Easter Island as well. In 2015 the virus spread its wings to Central America, the Caribbean, and Latin America, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Barbados, Mexico, Puerto Ricco, Samoa, Venezuela, Bolivia, Paraguay, Haiti, Jamaica French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Martinique, Saint Martin, Suriname, and few other countries.
Precautions While Traveling
The virus isn’t that dangerous. However, you definitely do not want to get ill while travelling. The best precaution is to use a mosquito repellent containing DEET or picaridin so the buzzing disease won’t infect you. Wear covered clothes which means full sleeved shirts and pants. Use a bed net while sleeping.
CDC advices pregnant women to avoid traveling to areas prone to Zika virus. Zika virus is said to have adverse effects on a conceiving mother and her unborn kid. The virus has resulted in babies being born with underdeveloped brains. Microcephaly-being born with an exceptionally small head, is an abnormality seen in babies of pregnant mothers that were diagnosed with Zika virus. This prompted the governments to request pregnant women to cancel or postpone their travel to regions infected with Zika Virus. Women who reside in such areas are advised to postpone their pregnancy on the whole.
For more information about Zika Virus you could also visit WHO website.
- Only 4 cases of Zika virus have been detected in the Americas. Local transmission of the disease is not confirmed yet.
- The government of Canada states low risk of the virus for its citizens.
- The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control states that there is no evidence of having acquired the virus and imported cases are 'rare.'
- The Australian government advises pregnant women to cancel their trips to places affected with the virus.
Disclaimer: This blog is solely for information purpose and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice. Visit your physician for best diagnosis and advice to treat your health condition.