In the wake of outbreaks in the Caribbean, Latin America, and most recently the United States, experts say Zika virus will eventually make its way to the rest of the world. Now, Zika has been reported in 58 countries and territories in the Americas, the Pacific Islands, and Africa, including New Zealand and Singapore.
In addition, the virus, which is linked to birth defects like microcephaly, is not only transmitted through bites from the Aedes aegypti mosquito — the same species that transmit dengue and chikungunya. It can also be spread through sexual intercourse. There is no vaccine or treatment for it yet as well.
While Zika may sound scary, you can protect yourself and your loved ones by keeping yourself informed. Here are the things you need to know about Zika virus in an easy-to-understand article.
What are the Symptoms of Zika Virus?
Most of the infected never have symptoms. In those who do, on the other hand, the most common symptoms include fever and rash, which appear a few days after a person is bitten. Other symptoms are conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, headache, tiredness, and pain behind the eyes. These usually last from two to seven days.
How is it Diagnosed and Treated?
If you are experiencing some of the symptoms, Pure Services suggests calling a pest control company and visiting a doctor immediately. The diagnosis will be based on your symptoms and recent history of mosquito bites and travel; laboratory testing can confirm the presence of the virus in your blood.
There is no specific antiviral drug treatment for Zika virus yet, but the symptoms can be treated with common fever and pain medicines, as well as plenty of rest and fluids.
How Can You Prevent the Disease?
As the old saying goes, prevention is better than cure. To prevent infection or the spread of the disease, reduce the breeding grounds for mosquitoes, use repellents and insect screens, and avoid taking trips to the infested area. Experts suggest hiring a pest control company as well.
Zika virus may be scary on all fronts, but being informed is the key to preventing this infectious disease — at least for now.