The Zika virus, first known in Uganda in 1947, is a virus mostly spread to people by mosquitoes. A person can also get the Zika virus by having a blood transfusion, exchanging bodily fluids and by mosquito bites. When the virus is spread by an Aedes mosquito, the mosquito bites an infected person and then passes the virus to other people it bites. A pregnant woman can also give the Zika virus to her unborn child. According to the New York Times article, one in 10 pregnant women in the continental United States with a confirmed Zika infection had a baby with brain damage or other serious birth defects. If the virus is passed on to the unborn child, the child will have birth defects. There are many symptoms that people experience from getting the Zika virus. A person could have red eyes, headaches, a fever, a rash, joint pain, muscle pain and even death. Only 1 out of 5 people will show symptoms of the virus. Most people do not even know that they have it. According to the CDC, symptoms can appear from 3-14 days after a bite from an infected mosquito. The symptoms can last for several days to a week. It is now thought of as a severe infectious disease.
Some of the most common locations that have a high number of cases of the Zika virus are in Brownsville Texas, South Africa and South Florida. There have been very active cases known to be in Miami Beach in South Florida. It is thought that the Zika virus is most common during the summer months and in hot locations. According to the CDC, more than 5,100 travel associated cases of Zika and more than 220 locally transmitted cases had been reported in the U.S. as of March 8. The CDC also said that detecting local spread of the Zika virus is difficult because a person may not show symptoms right away or for up to 2 weeks after infection, if at all. Also, a diagnosis of the disease and an investigation of cases can take weeks. It is anticipated that the Zika virus will continue to spread and will likely reach all countries and territories of the region where the Aedes mosquitoes are found.
Overall, a person can take steps to prevent the Zika virus from spreading. If a person is planning to travel in an affected area, they can avoid mosquito bites by using registered insect repellent that has special ingredients used for aggressive insects when they are outside. A person can also wear long sleeved shirts and long pants both inside and outside. The Aedes mosquitoes are known to be aggressive during the daytime and are mostly found inside. It has been said that a person should protect themselves all day long from getting bitten by the Aedes mosquitoes. You should have screens in place on your windows and doors at home. If you have standing water outside or inside, you should get rid of it because mosquitoes lay eggs near water. Blood tests are also recommended when a person has traveled to another country or to areas that are known for having the Zika virus.