Q: What is the Zika virus?
A: The Zika virus is a mosquito-borne flavivirus first identified in humans in the early 1950’s. Throughout history outbreaks have been recorded in Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific. A recent rise and spread of the Zika virus has been identified in Brazil and caused a rise in the number of children being born with unusually small heads.
This has been identified as as microcephaly. The Zika virus has also correlated to the increase in Guillain-Barre syndrome, a neurological disorder that can result in paralysis and death.
Q: How do people catch the Zika virus?
A: The Zika virus is primarily transmitted to people through the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito. It can also be transmitted through sex, and has been detected in blood, saliva, urine, semen, and more.
There are two different types of Aedes mosquitos. The first is the Aedes aegypti mosquito found in more tropical regions and the second is the Aedes albopictus mosquito which survives in cooler climates.
Q: What are symptoms of the Zika virus?
A: The Zika virus is known to cause mild illness. The most common symptoms are a slight fever, and rashes.
Symptoms are normally displayed a few days after someone has been bitten and infected be the Aedes mosquito. Some people suffer from the symptoms of conjunctivitis which causes muscles and joint pain and tiredness. Symptoms normally last two to seven days. However, some people do not experience any symptoms at all.
Q: How is the Zika virus diagnosed
A: The Zika virus is generally diagnosed based on symptoms a person may be experiencing, along with an evaluation of their history. An example would be someone who recently traveled to an area with the Zika virus, or recently got multiple mosquito bites. Laboratory testing can confirm Zika virus in the blood. However, this method is not always reliable as it cross-reacts with other viruses, such as the West Nile virus.
Q: How is the Zika virus treated?
A: Symptoms of the Zika virus can be treated with pain and fever medicines. It is also important to rest, and drink plenty of water. If symptoms worsen, it is always important to seek advice, and treatment from a medical professional.
Neighbors Emergency Center is happy to inform the public about important service announcements, such as the recent Zika Virus. Check our Facebook page to stay updated on on health news. With our 24-hour emergency rooms throughout the Houston metro area, we can treat you quickly and effectively so you can get back to doing what you love.