Zika virus History:
The Zika virus is found in tropical locales with large mosquito populations. Outbreaks of Zika virus disease have been recorded in Africa, the Americas, Southern Asia and Western Pacific. The virus was first identified in Uganda in 1947 in rhesus monkeys and was first identified in people in 1952 in Uganda and Tanzania, according to the WHO.
Global health officials say the Zika virus, linked to severe birth defects in thousands of babies in Brazil, is spreading rapidly in the Americas and could infect 3 million to 4 million people. The race is on to develop a Zika vaccine.
The World Health Organization said Zika cases have been reported in 23 countries and territories in the Americas in the current outbreak. Brazil has been the nation most affected. Other nations and territories include Barbados, Bolivia, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Saint Martin, Suriname, Venezuela and the U.S. Virgin Islands, according to the PAHO.
The virus is transmitted to people through the bite of infected female Aedes mosquitoes, the same type of mosquito that spreads dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever. The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said Aedes mosquitoes are found in all countries in the Americas except Canada and continental Chile, and the virus will likely reach all countries and territories of the region where Aedes mosquitoes are found.
About 1 in 5 people infected with Zika virus become ill (i.e., develop Zika).2.The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, or conjunctivitis (red eyes). Other common symptoms include muscle pain and headache. The incubation period (the time from exposure to symptoms) for Zika virus disease is not known, but is likely to be a few days to a week.3.The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week.4.Zika virus usually remains in the blood of an infected person for a few days but it can be found longer in some people.5.Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon.6.Deaths are rare.
The symptoms of Zika are similar to those of dengue and chikungunya, diseases spread through the same mosquitoes that transmit Zika.
See your healthcare provider if you develop the symptoms described above and have visited an area where Zika is found.
If you have recently traveled, tell your healthcare provider when and where you traveled.
Your healthcare provider may order blood tests to look for Zika or other similar viruses like dengue or chikungunya.
No vaccine or medications are available to prevent or treat Zika infections.
Treat the symptoms:
Drink fluids to prevent dehydration
Do not take aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like ibuprofen and naproxen. Aspirin and NSAIDs should be avoided until dengue can be ruled out to reduce the risk of hemorrhage (bleeding). If you are taking medicine for another medical condition, talk to your healthcare provider before taking additional medication.
During the first week of infection, Zika virus can be found in the blood and passed from an infected person to another mosquito through mosquito bites.
Take medicines, such as acetaminophen or paracetamol, to relieve fever and pain.
Get plenty of rest
If you have Zika, avoid mosquito bites for the first week of your illness.
There is no treatment or vaccine available for Zika infection. Companies and scientists are racing to develop a safe and effective vaccine for Zika, but one is not expected to be ready for months or years.
The PAHO said there is no evidence that Zika can cause death but some cases have been reported with more serious complications in patients with pre-existing medical conditions.
The virus has been linked to microcephaly, a condition in newborns marked by abnormally small heads and brains that have not developed properly. It also has been associated with Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks part of the nervous system. Scientists are studying whether there is a causal link between Zika and these two disorders.
People who get Zika virus disease typically have a mild fever, skin rash, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain and fatigue that can last for two to seven days. But as many as 80 percent of people infected never develop symptoms. The symptoms are similar to those of dengue or chikungunya, which are transmitted by the same type of mosquito.
The PAHO also said Zika can be transmitted through blood, but this is an infrequent transmission mechanism. There is no evidence the virus can be transmitted to babies through breast milk.
Until more is known, the Ministry of Health recommends that women who are pregnant or plan to become pregnant in the near term consider delaying travel to areas with Zika virus present. If travelling in Zika infected areas, women who are pregnant or plan to become pregnant should consult with their healthcare provider and take all precautions to avoid mosquito bites, including:
Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants
Insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, and IR3535 are safe for pregnant and nursing women and children older than 2 months when used according to the product label. Oil of lemon eucalyptus products should not be used on children under 3 years of age.
Use insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), or IR3535. Always use as directed.
Use permethrin-treate clothing and gear (such as boots, pants, socks, and tents).
Use bed nets as necessary
If you use both sunscreen and insect repellent, apply the sunscreen first and then the repellent.
Stay and sleep in screened-in or air-conditioned rooms.