People in the United States are getting concerned over a mosquito-borne illness known as Zika virus. This virus has been spreading through South and Central America and is thought to be linked to a series of birth defects.
Earlier this week, the U.S. Center for Disease Control issued a travel advisory urging pregnant women to seriously consider postponing any travel to over 10 countries where the Zika virus is known to be present. If you are pregnant and have to travel, the CDC advises you to speak to your doctor or other health care provider to find out what steps are necessary to avoid mosquito bites during your travel.
The virus is expected to work its way through the United States. It reached Mexico in November and Puerto Rico in December. The CDC confirmed a case of the Zika virus in Texas from a traveler who recently returned from travel to Latin America.
The Zika virus is transmitted through bites from mosquitoes of the Aedes species. The virus is not communicable from person to person but can be transmitted when a mosquito bites someone who is infected and then bites someone else.
The virus was first discovered in Uganda in 1947 and named after the forest in which it was found.
The CDC states that the most common symptoms of Zika virus are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis. Other symptoms can include muscle pain, headache, pain behind the eyes, and vomiting. Symptoms are usually mild, lasting from a few days to a week.
In rare cases, symptoms can become severe and require hospitalization.
There is no specific treatment for Zika except to try to ease the symptoms. There is no vaccine to prevent it.
For more information on the virus, please vist the CDC’s website
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