With the recent awareness about Zika, it is important to take necessary precautions to prevent contracting and spreading the disease. Although information on the virus has only recently made news headlines, Zika has been on the move for decades.
Zika virus was first discovered in 1947 and is named after the Zika Forest in Uganda. In 1952, the first human cases of Zika were detected and since then, outbreaks of Zika have been reported in tropical Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands (CDC). Because symptoms of Zika are similar to those of many other diseases, many cases may not have been recognized. This gives us even more reason to be aware and educated about Zika and its potential effects.
The Zika virus is transmitted through mosquito bites, which happen most often during the summer months, so it is important to protect yourself accordingly. The virus has also been reported to spread through blood transfusion, sexual contact and from mother to child during pregnancy. Although those infected are most often asymptomatic, the most common symptoms are fever, rash, joint pain, conjunctivitis (red eyes), muscle pain, and headache. If you are experiencing any symptoms or have any questions or concerns, speak with a healthcare professional immediately. Take a look at the below prevention tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to have a mosquito-free summer!
- Use insect repellent and reapply as directed
- Cover crib, stroller, and baby carriers with mosquito netting
- Wear clothing that covers arms and legs
- Stay in places with air conditioning or door/window screens
- Take necessary precautions when sexually active
- Stay up to date on safe travel information
Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. LifeWork Strategies, Adventist HealthCare. The Health Tip of the Week is for educational purposes only. For additional information, consult your physician. Please feel free to copy and distribute this health resource.