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What is Zika Virus: 5 Things To Know About The Scary Mosquito-Born Illness - BE ALERT WITH ZIKA VIRUS



The mosquito-borne Zika virus, which has been linked to brain damage in thousands of babies in Brazil — has now hit three states in America. Two pregnant women in Illinois have reportedly contracted the virus, while other cases are starting to pop up in Florida. While Zika causes mild symptoms in most infected people, the virus can be particularly serious for pregnant women. Here are the top five things you need to know about the outbreak. 

1. What Is The Zika Virus?

The Zika virus is part of the same disease family as deadly yellow fever virus, West Nile, chikungunya and dengue, according to CNN. The virus has becoming extremely alarming, due to the connection between the virus and microcephaly, which is a neurological disorder that results in babies being born with abnormally small heads. This causes severe developmental issues and sometimes death. Currently the Zika virus is now being locally transmitted in Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Cape Verde, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Saint Martin, Suriname, Samoa and Venezuela, says the CDC.

2. What Are The Symptoms?

In most people, symptoms of the virus are mild, including fever, headache, rash and possible pink eye, according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In fact, 80% of those infected never know they have the disease. This is a serious concern for pregnant women, since the virus has now been shown to pass through amniotic fluid to the growing baby.

3. What Should pregnant Women Do?

Pregnant women should postpone any travel to places where the Zika virus is currently of concern, according to the CDC. If a pregnant woman must travel (we will reiterate — MUST TRAVEL) to one of these places, they should consult with a health professional ahead of time, and follow recommendations to avoid mosquito bites. They should use insect repellent, wear long-sleeved shirts/long pants and stay in places with air conditioning.

4. Is There A Cure Or Vaccine?

Sadly, as of right now, there is no vaccine to prevent Zika nor medicine to treat the infection.

5. Should Americans Be Worried?

The consensus is, maybe. According to Time, a case in Puerto Rico was confirmed in Dec., and the patient had not recently traveled. This is very scary, because that means the virus was from a local mosquito. The other scary fact that Zika has been found in breast milk, yet it’s not yet confirmed it can be passed to the baby during nursing.


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