New information is appearing weekly in the media on the mosquito-borne virus called Zika. Don’t panic. Take a few minutes to update yourself on the facts.
Zika is a disease caused by Zika virus that is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes aegypti species mosquito. The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis (red eyes). Symptoms are usually mild, lasting for several days to a week. However, Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause a serious birth defect called microcephaly, as well as other severe fetal brain defects. In addition, a condition called Guillain-Barré syndrome, a disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks part of the nervous system, can be triggered by Zika in a small proportion of infections. And recently, a potential link between Zika and acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM), a condition which can result in an MS-like syndrome for up to six months, has also been described.
So far, the Zika virus has been spread primarily by the Aedes aegypti species mosquito, but the virus can also be transmitted from a pregnant woman to her unborn child during pregnancy or to her newborn around the time of birth, through blood transfusions or through sexual contact with an infected man. In addition, a recent study suggests Zika may also be spread by oral sex.
This material is provided for informational use only and should not be construed as medical advice or used in place of consulting a licensed professional.
You should consult with an applicable licensed professional to determine what is right for you.
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