What you need to know about Zika Virus

By Anita Stoner - For The Register-Herald

Zika is a disease caused by Zika virus that is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito.

Zika is not a new virus and outbreaks previously have been reported in tropical Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands. In May 2015, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) issued an alert regarding the first confirmed Zika virus infection in Brazil, and it has now spread within Cape Verde, Caribbean, Central America, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Samoa, and South America.

Anyone who is living in or traveling to an area where Zika virus is found who has not already been infected with Zika virus is at risk for infection, including pregnant women. It can also be transmitted from a pregnant mother to her baby during pregnancy or around the time of birth. There have been reports of a serious birth defect of the brain called microcephaly (a condition in which a baby’s head is smaller than expected when compared to babies of the same sex and age) and other poor pregnancy outcomes in babies of mothers who were infected with Zika virus while pregnant. Women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant should consider postponing travel to any area where Zika virus transmission is ongoing.

About 1 in 5 people infected with Zika will get sick. For people who get sick, the illness is usually mild. For this reason, many people might not realize they have been infected. The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain, or conjunctivitis (red eyes). If you have recently traveled, and develop symptoms, tell your healthcare provider. Symptoms typically begin 2 to 7 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito.

There is no vaccine to prevent or specific medicine to treat Zika. The best way to prevent diseases spread by mosquitoes is to avoid being bitten. Protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites.

For more information go to www.cdc.gov/zika/index.html.

To keep up with other public health–related issues make sure to check out Preble County Public Health online at www.preblecountyhealth.org, through Facebook at www.facebook.com/PrebleCoHealth and on Twitter at @PrebleCoHealth! We are also available Monday through Friday between the hours of 8 a.m.-4 p.m. by phone at 937-472-0087.

By Anita Stoner

For The Register-Herald

Reach Anita at Preble County Public Health at 937-472-0087.

Reach Anita at Preble County Public Health at 937-472-0087.