Zika Virus: Forewarned is Forearmed
Following world health organization’s move to declare the Zika virus a critical public health emergency, it has become essential that people get to understand more about the virus properly. This is crucial not just to the people living around the already identified areas with the virus but also to other individuals who travel a lot.
Pregnant ladies are the most affected people with this virus since it was proven that the virus could lead to babies being born with major defects. The following information about the virus will help you to get a better enlightenment about the virus and how you can prevent yourself from contracting it.
Signs and symptoms
The symptoms of this viral infection are usually mild and could for some time go unnoticed. Even though the incubation period of this virus is still unclear, its symptoms are known to last for about two to seven days. Some of the commonly reported symptoms of this virus include:
- Red sore eyes also known as conjunctivitis.
- A fever accompanied by a headache.
- Joint pains are also common especially around the small joints of your feet and hands. You will also be likely to experience a back pain and hurting muscles.
- Itching is another symptom of the infection, and it could lead to the development of rashes on your body.
If you are a pregnant lady, and you experience these symptoms, then you are highly advised to visit a medical practitioner as soon as possible to prevent the infection from affecting your unborn child. You will be required to tell the doctors if you have been traveling to areas with the virus for more accurate diagnosis.
The primary source of transmission of the Zika virus is through a bite from an infected Aedes mosquito which could be either the A Albopictus or the A Aegypti. These are the mosquitos which are also responsible for spreading the Chikungunya and Dengue viruses. The Aedes mosquito will get this virus after biting an infected person. The mosquito will then act as a carrier of the virus surviving inside it. It will then pass the virus to the next person it bites.
It is also possible for the virus to be transmitted through sexual intercourse. Research has shown that men are the most likely transmitters of the virus through sexual intercourse since the virus can survive in semen even longer than it does in blood.
Cases of transmission through blood transfusion have been reported in some parts of Brazil but they are yet to be confirmed.
Since there is no vaccine for the Zika virus disease, people can only protect themselves by avoiding contact with mosquitos and not traveling to areas with the virus. You can minimize contact with mosquitos through wearing long pants and long-sleeved shirts. Use of insect repellants with DEET, sleeping under mosquito nets and use of physical barriers are the best ways to prevent contact with mosquitos.
Unfortunately, there is no proper treatment for Zika virus so far. Individuals infected with this virus need to drink plenty of fluids and get sufficient sleep. They have to use common medicines to treat the symptoms of the virus such as fever and the pains. The patient should visit a medical practitioner in case the symptoms persist.