In Time magazine, the cover story for the week of May 16, 2016, is “The Zika Virus.” I have decided to summarize the information for you, in order to provide an update for my first post on this subject. There are increased concerns this summer that the mainland of the United States will have a spread of Zika. The Congress thus far has failed to provide emergency funding to battle the virus. However, the city of Dallas is predicted to have a low potential for the virus in July 2016.
To provide you with some facts on the Zika virus, I offer the following, per the referenced article:
- In Latin America, millions have been infected
- There are 1000 confirmed cases of the birth defect microcephaly
- 400 Americans have contracted the Zika virus overseas
- 700 Puerto Rican cases of Zika have been reported, with one death. It is estimated that 20% of all Puerto Ricans will contract Zika
The symptoms of the Zika virus include a rash, red eyes, fever, and joint pain. Treatment includes hydration and taking Tylenol as needed. Definitive diagnosis of Zika can be done with blood tests; however, it takes weeks to get these results. Those most at risk are pregnant women because of the known cause of microcephaly and perhaps other birth defects. Others at risk are those travelling to one of the 44 countries in which the Zika virus has spread. This virus is also linked to neurological and autoimmune disorders. This virus can be transmitted through sexual contact. For most adults, the symptoms of viral infection last for a few days. Currently there is no treatment that stops the virus. However, the National Institute of Health is currently attempting to develop a vaccine to prevent infection.
The best treatment is that of prevention. The following are recommendations to prevent the spread of the Zika virus:
- Dump standing water found outside. Rinse and clean out containers which have dried out outside.
- Place screens on windows that are opened
- Use air conditioners to lower the temperature
- Cover up your skin. Use long-sleeved shirts and pants.
- Use insect repellants with 20-30% DEET, or with picaridin, oil-of-lemon eucalyptus, paramenthane-diol, or IR3535.
More information will become available should the Zika virus spread within our mainland this summer. We will attempt to keep you informed here on this website.
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