Getting to Know Zika Virus

You must be reading or reading about Zika virus more and more these days. This isn’t really surprising most especially because experts say that it’s likely to hit the US soon.

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So should you start panicking because more and more stories about people getting infected with Zika virus are emerging? Not quite. The first thing you do is get yourself armed with the right information about Zika virus and Zika virus disease. Knowing the enemy lets you be acquainted with how to avoid it and what you should do if you get infected.

Zika Virus Transmission

Zika virus can be transmitted through the bite of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the very same type of mosquito responsible for the spreading of dengue fever and other diseases. Those who live in regions where the Aedes aegypti mosquito cannot be found may still be infected if they travel to places where the said mosquito thrives and they end up bitten by it. Once infected, they may infect other people through the bite of the Aedes aegypti mosquito itself.

Zika virus infection leads to Zika virus disease, something which comes with signs and symptoms similar to other diseases that are transmitted through the bite of the Aedes aegypti mosquito. They include mild fever, muscle and joint pain, headache, malaise, skin rashes and conjunctivitis. All of these signs and symptoms tend to last for 2 to 7 days.

Signs and Symptoms of Zika Virus Disease

It’s not clear how long it will take before the signs and symptoms emerge after being exposed to Zika virus, although experts say that it may take a few days to a few weeks.

Mild fever, muscle and joint pain, headache, malaise, skin rashes and conjunctivitis — all of these are the signs and symptoms of Zika virus disease. They are basically the same signs and symptoms associated with dengue and yellow fever, both of which are transmitted through the bite of the Aedes aegypti mosquito.

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According to the experts, people with Zika virus disease do not end up sick enough to require hospitalization. What’s more, they add that deaths due to the Zika virus are very rare. It is also important to note that not all individuals infected with Zika virus will end up ill and encounter the signs and symptoms mentioned above. According to the experts, only about 1 out of every 5 people with the Zika virus will end up ill.

Zika Virus Disease Diagnosis

A doctor will determine whether or not a person is infected with Zika virus by means of the signs and symptoms. More importantly, he or she will consider the patient’s recent history, such as travelingl to places where Zika virus is present.

The definitive way to determine the presence of Zika virus is through laboratory testing in order to confirm the presence of the Zika virus RNA in the blood. It may also be present in other bodily fluids such as the urine and saliva.

Medical Treatment for Zika Virus Disease

There is no vaccine available that can prevent a person from getting infected with Zika virus. Similarly, there is no specific drug that can put an end to Zika virus disease. Since the signs and symptoms of the said disease are usually mild, majority of those who are suffering from it require no hospitalization.

A doctor may recommend drugs for the management of some of the signs and symptoms associated with Zika virus disease, such as mild fever and muscle and joint pain. The intake of aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) is not a good idea unless dengue fever is ruled out as the risk of bleeding may increase.

Home management for Zika virus disease include: lots of rest, drinking plenty of fluids to ward off dehydration, and opting for nutritious foods to help in strengthening the immune system.

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