What Is Zika Virus?
Though the Zika virus is an old disease, its appearance in the Americas is recent. Before 2014, cases of Zika in the Americas were rare and associated with travel. But, since the disease came to Brazil in 2014, it has spread north and west into more than 20 countries.
The virus spreads through mosquito bites and usually only causes mild symptoms. Despite this, new research from Brazil suggests Zika can cause birth defects in baby’s whose mothers contract the disease while pregnant. The exact nature of these defects and when they are most likely to happen is still under investigation.
There is no vaccine to prevent Zika and no medicine to treat it. Recovery comes through supportive care, like pain-killers, and time passed. The best protection is preventing mosquito bites and avoiding regions where the disease is present.
What Are The Symptoms of Zika Virus?
Though Zika is often a light infection, there are some possibly serious side effects. Only about 1-in-5 of those infected with the virus become sick. Symptoms are generally mild and lasting several days to a week. Severe illness is uncommon and deaths are rare.
Zika virus symptoms include:
- RashJoint pain
- Conjunctivitis (pink eye)
- Muscle pain
- A headache
Where Is Zika Virus Found?
Countries With Active Zika Transmission
American Samoa, Anguila, Antigua, Argentina, Aruba, The Bahamas, Barbados, Barbuda, Belize, Bolivia, Bonaire, Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Cape Verde, Cayman Islands, Colombia, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, U.S. territory, Costa Rica, Cuba, Curacao, Dominca, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Fiji, French Guiana, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Kosrae, Marshall Islands, Martinique, Mexico, Montserrat, New Caledonia, Nicaragua, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Saba, Saint Barthelemy, Saint Eustatius, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Martin, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Singapore, Sint Maarten, Suriname, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands, United States (ONLY Miami-Dade County, Florida) and Venezuela
What you can do to protect yourself
- Plan your travel
- Avoid mosquito bites
- Cover yourself with Refyn’s Mosquito net, Bug zappers and Face Guard