What is it?
Zika Virus is a mosquito borne virus that can be spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. Zika can also be spread from a pregnant woman who is infected, to the fetus, which can cause certain birth defects, Microcephaly as well as other brain defects are common.
Many individuals infected with Zika may not have symptoms or only have a mild case of the symptoms. Symptoms include fever, rash, headache, joint pain, conjunctivitis (red eyes), and muscle pain. These symptoms can last several days up to a full week. Due to the lack of symptoms and the similar symptoms of Zika and other mosquito borne diseases, it can be difficult for an individual to realize they have been infected. Blood testing can be done to confirm if someone has been infected.
2019 Case Count
So far in 2019, there have been a total of 10 Zika cases that have been reported. All 10 cases are due to U.S. citizens returning from travelling to affected areas outside of the states. There have been 0 cases through local mosquitoes within the United States.
Is there treatment?
There isn’t anything specific to help treat those with the Zika Virus, but it is strongly encouraged to contact your health provider or doctor after travelling to a place where Zika is prevalent. This is especially important if you are pregnant or if you are trying to get pregnant.
What can I do to prevent?
It is encouraged that pregnant women should not travel to areas where Zika is prevalent to not risk causing any birth defects. If travelling to areas with Zika, it is crucial to wear mosquito repellent and reapply when necessary to prevent mosquito bites at all costs.
Words from Our Expert, Dr. McKenzie
“There hasn’t been a lot of news coverage about Zika Virus this year, even though it is still a serious disease and is still being locally transmitted in the U.S. territories. In the continental U.S., there have been no locally transmitted cases of Zika since 2017, this is presumably because of the increased efforts of mosquito control districts in high risk areas, such as Florida and Texas. However, some diseases don’t show up every year and when that happens people tend to forget about them and move on to the next big thing. There is a lot about Zika Virus that is unknown, it may never be a problem in the U.S. again, or it may be a big problem next year. It’s better to be prepared than to have the issues that were seen in 2016 with this serious disease. Remember mosquito season is only over once we are seeing freezing temperatures. So, if you must go out at dusk or dawn, make sure that you are using EPA registered/CDC recommended repellents. Around your home, remove or refresh larval habitats (i.e. empty containers and bird baths) and if possible, wear long sleeves and long pants. Adding a flying insect trap to your mosquito control strategy can help protect you and your family by collecting mosquitoes that are in your yard. Stay vigilant – don’t breed these vector mosquitoes in your yard!”