What is the Zika virus?
The Zika virus belongs to the genus Flavivirus and is the cause of Zika fever or Zika disease. Although first identified in Uganda in 1947, the first recorded outbreak occurred in 2007 in the Federated States of Micronesia. In recent years the virus has spread throughout Asia and the Americas.
How is the Zika virus transmitted?
Transmission of this virus occurs primarily through the biting of infected mosquitoes of the genus Aedes, but can also occur via sexual or intrauterine routes.
What are the symptoms of the Zika virus?
In most cases, Zika virus infections are asymptomatic, according to information from the CDC, although patients may experience the following symptoms:
- Maculopapular rash
- Joint pain
- Muscle pain
- An additional risk associated with this disease is microcephaly in newborns whose mothers were infected during pregnancy. This is why women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant should be especially careful to avoid this disease. Cases of Guillain-Barré Syndrome have also been reported in patients who have contracted the Zika virus.
Is there a vaccine against the Zika virus?
There is currently no vaccine for Zika virus
What is the treatment for the Zika virus?
Treatment involves care to treat the symptoms of the disease and includes rest, fluid intake to prevent dehydration, and use of pain relievers and antipyretics. Until dengue fever infection is ruled out, the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs should be avoided to reduce the risk of bleeding.
Where is the Zika virus present?
Zika virus is a risk to all persons living in or planning to visit any of the following countries (1):
- Cape Verde
- Central African Republic
- Republic of Congo
- Ivory Coast
- Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Equatorial Guinea
- Sierra Leone
- South Sudan
- East Timor
- Antigua and Barbuda
- British Virgin Islands
- Dominican Republic
- Puerto Rico
- Saint Kitts and Nevis
- Saint Lucia
- Saint Martin
- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
- Sint Eustatius
- Trinidad and Tobago
- Turks and Caicos Islands
- U.S. Virgin Islands
- Costa Rica
- El Salvador
- Marshall Islands
- Papua New Guinea
- Solomon Islands
- French Guiana
(1) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Recommendations for preventing the Zika virus
Since a vaccine that guarantees protection against this disease is not yet available, it is important that people visiting areas where the virus is endemic take steps to protect themselves. The use of mosquito repellents and nets is recommended, in addition to treating clothing with permethrin and using condoms when having sex.