Zika Virus – an update
The Obama administration requested $1.8 billion in emergency funds to combat the Zika virus in early 2016 according to the journal CEN (CEN.ACS.ORG February 15, 2016). This money is indented to be used for the accelerated development of vaccines and diagnostics, to expand laboratory and testing capacity, and to boost mosquito control programs. Even though many people infected with the virus have no symptoms it is thought that the number of babies with unusually small heads and brain damage in brazil may be caused by the Zika virus.
The Zika virus (Zika) is now spreading in multiple countries and territories.
Health officials expect the virus to spread to nearly all countries in the Americas and expand warnings for pregnant women.
Expectant mothers are now adviced not to visit Barbados, Bolivia, Ecuador, Guadaloupe, St. Martin, Guyana, and Samoa until the risk for infection by the Zika virus is lower or over.
Below is information that can be found at the CDC website [CDC = Centers for Disease Control and prevention].
“Zika virus is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito (A. aegypti and A. albopictus). To date, there have been no reports of Zika being spread by mosquitoes in the continental United States. However, cases have been reported in travelers to the United States, as well as cases of sexual transmission. With the recent outbreaks in the Americas, the number of Zika cases among travelers visiting or returning to the United States will likely increase. CDC is not able to predict how much Zika virus would spread in the continental United States. Many areas in the United States have the type of mosquitoes that can become infected with and spread Zika virus. However, recent outbreaks in the continental United States of chikungunya and dengue, which are spread by the same type of mosquito, have been relatively small and limited to a small area.”
Zika virus can be sexually transmitted by a man to his sex partners. Not having sex is the best way to prevent sexually transmitted Zika. If a person is sexually active, using condoms the right way every time they have sex can reduce the chance they can get Zika through sex.
There is no specific medicine or vaccine for Zika virus.
How can people protect themselves against Zika?
The best way to prevent Zika is to prevent mosquito bites. Here’s how
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
- Stay in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.
- Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents (bug spray). Always follow the instructions on the label and reapply every few hours.
- Eliminate mosquito breeding sites, like containers with standing water.
Visit CDC’s website for more information about preventing mosquito bites.
The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are
Other symptoms include
Most people infected with Zika virus won’t even know they have the disease. The sickness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week. People usually don’t get sick enough to go to the hospital, and they very rarely die of Zika.
The following steps can reduce the symptoms of Zika:
Get plenty of rest.
Drink fluids to prevent dehydration.
Take medicine such as acetaminophen to reduce fever and pain.
Do not take aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
If you are taking medicine for another medical condition, talk to your healthcare provider before taking additional medication.
To learn more, please visit CDC's Zika virus page.