As more than 50 cases of the Zika virus have been reported in the United States, it’s important to know and understand what this disease is and whether you’re actually at risk for harm. Read these 4 facts on Zika, which may give you some peace of mind.
1. What is Zika? Zika is a disease spread through the bite of an infected mosquito of the Aedes species. The infected mosquito species has been reported active in 30 countries (see a map here). Eighty percent of people with the virus experience no symptoms, while 1 in 5 experience mild symptoms of fever, rash, joint pain or conjuntivitis (red eyes) between 2-7 days after being bitten, according to the Center for Disease Control.
2. If there are no reported Aedes mosquitos in the US, how do people have it? Over 50 cases of Zika have been confirmed in the US and most were caused by mosquito bites while traveling to a country in South America. There have, however, been cases caused by blood transfusion or sexual contact with infected individuals.
3. Should I be concerned about getting the virus? If you don’t like in an area with active reports of local transmissions or haven’t traveled to an infected area, you shouldn’t be worried about getting Zika. Spread of the virus has been confirmed, however, through blood transfusion and sexual contact, so be sure to use protection if you become sexually involved with a person who recently traveled to an infected area.
4. Should I cancel my travel plans to a place Zika has been reported? While most symptoms are mild, the virus may be connected to a series of birth defects, including significantly smaller heads, in children whose mothers were infected with Zika. If you’re pregnant, you may consider postponing travel plans to an infected area. If you cannot cancel your trip, consult with your doctor to take precautions against bites. If you aren’t pregnant, take these steps to prevent mosquito bites.
To learn more about Zika virus, click here!