If you own a television or listen to the news on the radio, you have undoubtedly heard of the Zika virus. It seems as though for the past several months, a new report is issued daily containing the latest developments and new findings regarding the virus. The narrative is very fluid, and because of this, we at Mosquito Squad of Boston Metro South want to provide you with helpful information about Zika and what you can do in order to help protect yourself and your family.
The Latest Update on Zika
According to the most recent update (March 23, 2016) on the Zika virus by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there have been 273 cases of Zika virus reported in the U.S. As of now, all these cases were acquired while traveling abroad. With the vast amount of speculation and conjecture being circulated, it’s important to rely on the CDC for factual information regarding the impact of Zika within the continental United States.
The largest Zika outbreak, and subsequent news attention, is in Brazil. This is also due to the upcoming 2016 Olympics being hosted in Rio de Janiero and the impact of so many international travelers being in attendance, potentially getting infected and then returning to their native countries and the natural alarm this causes many epidemiologists. Stay up to date with our blog in order to receive the latest updates regarding the Zika virus.
What is the Zika Virus?
The Zika virus is an arbovirus, meaning it can be transmitted to humans through the bite of a mosquito. The two main culprits are the Aedes Aegypti and the Aedes Albopictus (Asian Tiger) mosquitoes. Both are known for their aggressive nature, as well as their daytime feeding habits. While the Asian Tiger mosquito can be found here in Weymouth and the rest of Massachusetts, the Aedes Aegypti is primarily found in warmer climates such as central America but has been found in the Southeastern United States.
The Zika virus can be spread to mosquitoes if they feed on a human that has contracted Zika. This is the classic cycle of an arbovirus. If you are diagnosed with Zika, it’s imperative to stay indoors and away from mosquitoes for a minimum of one week in order to limit the spread of the virus locally. The CDC has also reported that Zika can be transmitted from mother to fetus, through blood transfusions, and even through sexual contact.
What are the Symptoms of Zika?
According to the CDC, “Most people infected with Zika virus won’t even know they have the disease because they won’t have the symptoms”. The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, conjunctivitis (also known as “pink eye”), muscle pain and headache. The symptoms are usually rather mild and can last several days to a week.
Is There a Treatment for Zika?
Unfortunately, there is no vaccine nor is there a cure for Zika at this time. Managing Zika’s symptoms is the only method of dealing with the virus. You should visit your healthcare provider if you have been to any areas where Zika is common and feel the onset of any of these symptoms in order to get tested for the virus.
Link Between Zika and Pregnancy Complications
The exact link between Zika and birth defects, specifically microcephaly in infants, is still being studied further for more precise information. However, the concern is strong enough to the point the CDCdiscourages pregnant women from traveling to any areas where Zika is prevalent. Click here to see the full list of Zika travel notices. Areas that fall under this travel notice include: Cape Verde, the Caribbean, Central America, Mexico, the Pacific Islands and South America. If considering traveling abroad, be sure to check the list prior to embarking. Also, for all information the CDC has put forth regarding Zika and pregnancy, click here.