A great deal of attention has been paid to the Zika Virus in the past year or so. Given this attention and the consequences to the development of unborn babies if the virus infects the mother, it is appropriate to take a closer look at the problems this infectious agent poses.

The Zika virus is named for the Zika forest of Uganda where it was first discovered in 1947. 

The virus is spread primarily through mosquitoes that bite both day and night.  Many people infected with the virus will have no symptoms at all, while others may experience flu-like symptoms that may include headache, fever, rash, joint pain and muscle pain.

The main problem with the virus occurs during pregnancy. Infection with the virus can be transmitted to the fetus and, like a number of other viruses can affect the potential health of the baby caused by a variety of birth defects.

There is no vaccine against the virus and no definitive treatment. The two states affected in the US, where cases of the virus have been thus far detected are Texas and Florida.

Mosquito control is essential. They include:

  • Wear protective clothing when outside where mosquitoes are to be found.
  • Use appropriate insect repellent and ALWAYS note what is safe for infants and children.
  • Eliminate standing water even in very small containers.

For more detailed information and preventative steps against the Zika virus, please visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website.

Eventually, it is hoped, there will be an effective vaccine that will prevent infection from the Zika virus. In the meantime, protect yourself and your family from mosquitoes!