An important part of our mission at Prepping News is to keep you up-to-date on the emerging threats that may impact you, and your family’s, safety. Zika virus is exactly one of those emerging threats!
If you haven’t heard of Zika Virus yet, you’re about to hear a whole lot more because this little bug is set to dominate the news in the coming weeks. In fact, the World Health Organization announced just today, that Zika is “spreading explosively.”
Let’s start with the basics (from Wikipedia):
Zika virus (ZIKV) is a member of the Flaviviridae virus family and the Flavivirus genus. In humans, it initially causes a mild illness known as Zika fever, Zika, or Zika disease. The illness it causes is similar to a mild form of dengue fever, is treated by rest, and cannot yet be prevented by drugs or vaccines. There is a possible link between Zika fever and microcephaly in newborn babies of infected mothers, as well as a stronger one with neurologic conditions in infected adults, including cases of the Guillain–Barré syndrome.
Here’s how Zika is spread (from the CDC):
Zika virus is spread to people through mosquito bites. The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting from several days to a week. Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon.
While Zika is rarely fatal, the real potential damage is to unborn children (from VOX):
But here’s the really worrisome part: Over the past year, pediatric neurologists in Brazil began to notice that some pregnant women infected with Zika have given birth to babies with a terrible birth defect called microcephaly, which is characterized by a shrunken head and incomplete brain development. (The virus has also been linked with Guillain-Barré, a rare neurological condition that can lead to paralysis.)
Unfortunately, (again from the CDC) “No vaccine or medications are available to prevent or treat Zika infections.”
Since this is a mosquito-born virus, Zika will become much more of a concern in the United States as we come out of winter and enter the warm months of spring and summer.
We’re tracking the spread of this disease and will keep you updated with all important developments.
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