is a mosquito-borne RNA (ribonucleic acid) Flavivirus. Flaviviruses are named from the yellow fever virus. The Flavivirus genus includes multiple human viral infections, including Yellow Fever, West Nile, Dengue and tick-borne Encephalitis. The Zika virus was first reported in Brazil in May of 2015.
As of March 28, 2017, there were 1,716
pregnant women with laboratory evidence of possible Zika Virus infection in the U.S. and District of Columbia and there are currently 3,461
in US Territories. These numbers reflect the number of pregnancies which have been reported to the pregnancy surveillance systems. Contracting Zika during pregnancy could cause a serious birth defect called Microcephaly
, along with brain defects. There is currently no evidence of past Zika infections affecting future pregnancies.
Here’s what to look out for:
According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
, the most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, headache, joint pain, Conjunctivitis, and muscle pain. These symptoms are usually mild and can last for several days to a week.
Zika virus usually remains in the blood of an infected person for about a week. If you have any of the above symptoms, you should see a doctor right away so they can test a sample of your blood or urine
to confirm Zika or any other virus. Your doctor may ask about recent travel or specific symptoms, so make a note of everything you are experiencing. If you are pregnant and think you are experiencing any symptoms, view this checklist
, which contains important resources, before you head to the doctor.
Always use mosquito repellent when outdoors or on a camping trip, especially if you are in an area with high reports of Zika Virus. Be sure to follow the instructions on the bottle and know the age restrictions
. While camping, you could use an additional clip on mosquito repellent
on top of your bug spray, use citronella
oil or safely burn citronella candles (while you are awake).
Look for standing water surrounding your home and take proper measures to get rid of it. Keep fountains clean and flowing. You can also purchase an outdoor spray treatment for your home and spray a few times each year to prevent mosquitos from coming near. Inspect your home’s window/door screens for holes or spaces, and install/replace screens if necessary.
Although mosquitos are out during the day, they are found to be most active at night. It is best to wear long sleeves and long pants at night to avoid being bitten. You should continue to re-apply your bug spray, since it is still possible to be bitten through clothing.
Although the Zika Virus is the main concern right now, remember there are many other viruses you could come into contact with, such as Lyme Disease, West Nile Virus, Malaria and many more.
In order to protect yourself, you should always wear mosquito repellent and use these suggested prevention techniques. For more information on this topic, visit www.cdc.gov
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