Zika is one of the fastest-spreading viruses in the world, and has steadily been extending its reach across the globe. But before you fall prey to hysteria about the virus, here are some things that you need to know about Zika. It might be more preventable than you thought.
Zika is a virus that is transferred through mosquitoes, and it has links to dengue fever and the West Nile virus. It is also spread through the contact of fluids, which qualifies this virus as a sexually transmitted disease.
Even though Zika has created worldwide worry and has instilled a sense of fear in people, there are usually no symptoms or lasting effects of the virus on the carrier. Most people who are infected by Zika will not notice any change in symptoms, other than a mild rash or a fever. If the person infected is not planning to become pregnant during the seven to 14 days that the Zika virus is present, they should simply stay well rested and remain hydrated to keep the fever down.
The real devastating effects of this virus happen to the children of pregnant women who are affected. The Zika virus gives children severe birth defects. These can range from deformation of the brain to severely impaired organs and brain tissue. This defect in small babies and children will either lead to lack of brain development or death.
The United States Government and the Centers For Disease Control have stated that women who are not pregnant or women who do not wish to have children for at least two years should not be overly concerned about the Zika virus. The travel ban is only in effect for women who are pregnant or planning pregnancy, and it is more of a general warning to everyone else.
Zika has been most prominently seen in South America, where it originated in the Zika forest in Brazil. However, more recently the amount of countries that have been exposed to Zika are growing.
South American countries included on the travel ban are: Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Puerto Rico, and Jamaica. However, recently the United States has also been hit with Zika. The states of New York, Alabama, and Florida have all been affected. Zika has even been identified in the Canadian province of Ontario.
What needs to be repeated about this virus is that it will not kill you. It is spread only to the fetus of an infected person. But for most people, the Zika virus lasts for only two weeks and has minimal symptoms which can be prevented. And the further good news is that Zika’s spread can be controlled, through proper mosquito bite prevention and use of effective STD prevention.