Many of you may not have heard of Zika virus or Zika fever. The virus is often transmitted through mosquito bites and is more common in tropical and subtropical regions of the world. Most people with Zika virus do not have any specific symptoms, but some do develop a mild fever, rash, and muscle aches. In this article, we will learn more about the symptoms, side effects and treatment methods of Zika virus. Stay with us until the end of the article.
Cause of Zika virus
Zika virus is usually transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes that carry the virus are two species of mosquitoes that exist around the world. When a mosquito bites an infected person with the Zika virus, it infects itself. Therefore, if an infected mosquito bites another person, the virus enters the second person’s bloodstream and causes an infection.
Zika virus is also transmitted from person to person through sexual intercourse. In some cases, people transmit the virus through blood donation or organ transplants. It is also possible for the virus to be transmitted from mother to fetus during pregnancy.
To date, no cases of Zika virus transmission have been reported by animals other than mosquitoes.
Risk factors for Zika virus
The following factors increase the risk of contracting Zika virus:
Living in or traveling to areas with a high prevalence of the virus
Presence in tropical and subtropical regions exposes people to more Zika virus. Some of these high-risk areas are:
- Some Pacific Awards;
- A number of countries in the Americas;
- Islands near West Africa;
- Parts of South and Southeast Asia.
Of course, because Zika virus-carrying mosquitoes are found all over the world, the virus seems to be spreading to new areas.
Having unprotected sex
Zika virus can be transmitted from person to person during sexual intercourse. Having unprotected sex can increase your risk of getting Zika virus up to three months after the trip. For this reason, pregnant women whose husbands have recently traveled to areas with a high prevalence of Zika virus should use the correct condom for sex or not have sex until their baby is born. Other people can use the same method to reduce the risk of contracting the virus for up to three months after the trip.
Symptoms of Zika virus
Four out of five people with Zika virus do not have any specific symptoms, and symptoms usually develop 2 to 14 days after a mosquito bite and last for about a week. Of course, most people recover completely.
The most common symptoms of Zika virus are:
- Mild fever;
- Back pain;
- Mild back pain;
- Itching all over the body;
- Red eyes (conjunctivitis);
- Joint pain, especially in the arms and legs.
Other signs and symptoms of Zika virus include:
- Abdominal pain;
- Muscular pain;
- Fatigue or general discomfort.
Complications of Zika virus
The risk of miscarriage, premature birth or stillbirth is higher in pregnant women with Zika virus. Zika infection during pregnancy also increases the risk of babies having serious birth defects (congenital Zika syndrome), which include the following symptoms:
- The size of the brain and head is slightly smaller than normal (microcephaly) with a slightly sunken skull;
- Brain damage and reduction of brain tissue;
- Eye injury;
- Joint problems include limited mobility;
- Decreased mobility due to large muscle mass after birth.
Detection of Zika virus
Your doctor will probably ask about your medical history and travel. Inform your doctor about the details of your travels and those of your partner. These details will include information about the country, the date of travel and the places where the mosquito may have been.
If your doctor suspects Zika virus, he or she may order a blood or urine test. Blood and urine samples can also be used to check for other mosquito-borne diseases.
If you are pregnant and have symptoms of Zika virus, your doctor may suggest one of the following:
- Perform ultrasound to check for fetal brain problems;
- Amniocentesis, in which a needle is inserted into the uterus and a sample of amniotic fluid is taken to check for Zika virus.
There is no specific treatment for Zika virus. To reduce symptoms, rest a lot and drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration. Acetaminophen can also help reduce joint pain and fever.
The symptoms of Zika virus are similar to those of other mosquito-borne diseases, such as dengue fever. Do not use the following medications until your doctor has ruled out dengue fever:
- Naproxen sodium.
These drugs can aggravate the effects of dengue fever.
When should I see a doctor?
See your doctor if you think you or your family have Zika virus; Especially if you have recently traveled to areas where the virus is prevalent.
If you are pregnant and have recently traveled to the Zika virus outbreak area and have no symptoms, consult your doctor for testing.
You can ask your doctor these questions about Zika virus:
- What is the main cause of my symptoms?
- What test do I need?
- What is the treatment?
- How long does it take to get better?
- Does this disease have long-term effects?
Prevention of Zika virus
There is no vaccine against Zika virus. In the absence of a Zika vaccine, in addition to care when traveling to areas with a high prevalence of Zika virus and protected sex, you can consider the following:
1. Stay in well-ventilated and screened areas
Zika virus-carrying mosquitoes are most active from morning to evening, but they can also bite you at night. So if you sleep outside at night, use a mosquito net.
۲. Wear protective clothing
If you go to areas infected with Zika mosquitoes, wear long-sleeved clothes, pants, socks and shoes.
3. Use an insect repellent
Apply a little permethrin to your clothes, shoes, camping gear and mosquito nets. You can also get clothes that have permethrin themselves. For your skin, use a deodorant (DEET), picaridine, or a substance approved by the Environmental Protection Agency that is effective against mosquitoes. Pregnant, lactating women and children over 2 months can use the device, but it should not be used for babies under 2 months.
4. Restrict the habitat of mosquitoes
Zika-infected mosquitoes usually live in or around homes and breed in stagnant water, such as in pet food, sprinklers, and old tires. Help reduce mosquito populations by draining stagnant water at least once a week.
Zika virus and blood donation
Zika virus is sometimes transmitted from person to person through blood products (blood donation). To prevent this spread, it is best to have donated blood samples tested for Zika virus. However, according to the CDC, there have been no reports of Zika virus transmission through donated blood in the United States.
Have you ever traveled to areas infected with Zika virus? Do you have this disease? What were your symptoms and how did you cope with the disease? If you wish, you can share your experience and opinion with us in the “Send Comment” section and send this article to your friends through social networks.