Internal Medicine at Washington Township Medical Foundation
Zika virus has been featured prominently in the news for an outbreak that
largely came to a head in 2016. However, the virus was first identified
in 1947 in Uganda. This condition is transmitted by mosquitoes—specifically the
Aedes genus of mosquitoes, which are also responsible for transmitting dengue,
yellow fever, and chikungunya. This species of mosquito bites both during
the day and the night.
It is possible for the Zika virus to also be transmitted through sexual
contact. Symptoms may include a mild fever, conjunctivitis, a skin rash,
muscle pain, joint pain, headaches, and a general feeling of malaise.
A pregnant woman can pass the Zika virus to her unborn child. This can
lead to certain birth defects.
What You Should Know About the Zika Virus
The best form of addressing the Zika virus is preventing mosquito bites,
as there is currently no approved medication or treatment. Pregnant women
should be careful to avoid traveling to places where Zika is present.
In addition, be aware that travelers returning from these places can pose
a hazard, as mosquitoes can bite an infected person and then infect another
individual with their blood.
Tips for avoiding mosquito bites include:
- Use insect repellent that is registered with the Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA), which is both safe and effective
- Wear protective clothing; long sleeves and pants
- Make sure there is no standing water on your property
- Stay in air conditioned areas fitted with door and window screens