Zika Virus Q&A
Q: What is the Zika Virus?
A: A mosquito-borne virus that falls under the same category as the yellow fever and West Nile. The medical community has been aware of Zika since 1947 and research is continuing to be done in order to learn more about it. Unfortunately, there is no medicine or vaccine to treat this spreading virus.
Q: How is the virus spread?
A: The mosquito becomes a carrier of the virus when it bites a person who already has Zika in their blood system. Anyone can then get the virus by getting bit by an infected mosquito. It can also be passed on from an infected man to his partner through sexual contact, to a fetus through the body of an infected pregnant woman, or through a blood transfusion.
Q: What are the symptoms?
A: Symptoms may include red eyes, rash, fever, joint or muscle pain, or other flu-like reactions. After infection, it is common for symptoms to last a few days to a week. However, 4 out of 5 people won’t have any signs of sickness. Most people are not hospitalized and death by virus is rare.
Q: Is there a cure?
Q: How can I treat the symptoms?
A: If you catch the virus, get a sufficient amount of sleep and drink fluids to stay hydrated. Talk to a health care professional for further advice on how to treat your current condition.
Q: Do mosquitoes in the United States, specifically Utah, carry the Zika virus?
A: No, although the Zika virus has entered the United States through infected people who have come back from Zika infested areas. To find out where the virus is carried, visit CDC.gov/zika and click on “Areas with Zika.”
Q: What are the effects of the Zika Virus?
A: Research is still going on in order to further detect how the virus is passed on and what effects it has on people. We know that there is a strong correlation between the Zika virus and microcephaly- a condition in which a baby may have an abnormally small head and possible brain damage. Though uncommon, Zika has also been correlated with the Guillain-Barré syndrome which can cause limb paralysis.
Q: How do I avoid getting the Zika Virus?
A: The best thing to do is to stay away from areas where Zika is circulating. If you decide to travel to a country where the Zika has been spread, protect yourself by wearing clothing that covers your legs and arms and use mosquito repellant. For sleeping conditions, hang up a mosquito net and try to get an air conditioned room. Concerning sexual transmission, avoid sex or have protected sex with those who have recently returned from a Zika infested area. If you think you have the Zika virus, get checked by a professional doctor.
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