There's been a lot of buzz - no pun intended - regarding the Zika virus that seems to be taking the Western Hemisphere by storm. Let's just get this out of the way - this mosquito-transmitted disease while serious, isn't something you likely need to worry about too much. But, it's important to stay up to date on the latest information of the disease to ensure you stay safe and healthy.
Let's quickly review of all the major facts you need to know about the Zika virus:
What is it
According to the World Health Organization, the virus is transmitted via an Aedes mosquito bite. Scientists are finding that people who are infected with the disease usually don't get sick enough to die and only remains in the body for about a week. In fact, only about one in five people will even develop symptoms.
The Zika virus is considered to be a public health emergency of international concern, however so far there have been no locally transmitted Zika cases reported in the U.S.. That being said however, there have been cases found in returning travelers from infected areas, reported the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The U.S. has 31 confirmed cases of the virus in 11 states. Currently, the outbreaks are occurring throughout the Americas, Africa, Southeast Asia and Pacific Islands. Brazil has been one such hot spot that has garnered much attention because its new to the area and no one has developed antibodies. Its first case appeared in May 2015. According to USA Today, the virus is expected to spread to the U.S., as well as every country in the Western hemisphere that houses the Aedes mosquito, which is found everywhere but Canada and Chile.
The WHO reported the incubation period of the disease is a few days, but symptoms will likely be similar to a regular flu. If you contract this virus, you symptoms include a fever, skin rashes, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain malaise, and headaches for about two to seven days. The more serious symptoms are seen in the newborn children of mothers who were bitten by the infected mosquitos. Though there's still a good amount of research to be done on this connection, it appears that the disease is causing microcephaly, a condition in which a baby's head and brain doesn't fully develop, making their heads small upon birth, said the source.
Who Is Affected
Anyone can be infected by this virus, but scientists and researchers are finding that pregnant women are most at risk for adverse side effects. WHO has predicted that as many as 3 million to 4 million people will be infected with this disease in the next year.
Senior Care And Prevention
There's no vaccine currently available to prevent the Zika virus, however you can still take preventative measures to keep mosquitos away, explained the CDC. The number one tip would be to avoid traveling to areas with cases of the Zika virus if possible. But if you can't skip your trip, wear long sleeves and long pants. Be sure your sleeping arrangements are in a closed space with screens to keep the bugs out. The Environmental Protection Agency also has a registered list of insect repellents, that are even safe and effective for pregnant women.
Source: Sunrise Senior Living