General Notice

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Zika Virus Information

February 2016

UPDATE - 2/9/16

Zika Virus Update

Zika Virus – Sexually Transmitted

The Zika virus, previous know to be a mosquito-transmitted infection, has been transmitted sexually within the United States. The virus is now present in bodily fluids other than blood to include saliva and urine. The Zika virus has been linked to microcephaly or newborns with unusually small heads and possible brain damage. Men who have traveled to areas where the virus is actively transmitted should abstain from sex with pregnant partners or should use a condom to prevent the spread of the virus. 

Precautions include the following:

  1. Pregnant women should avoid travel to areas where the Zika virus is actively transmitted - http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/zika-information
  2. Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants
  3. Stay in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens
  4. Sleep under a mosquito bed net
  5. Use EPA registered insect repellents with at least 20% DEET http://www.epa.gov/insect-repellents/find-insect-repellent-right-you
  6. Treat clothing and gear with permethrin or purchase permethrin-treated items
  7. Men who have traveled to areas where the virus is actively transmitted should abstain from sex with pregnant partners or should use a condom to prevent the spread of the virus.

For more information about the Zika virus visit the CDC website. http://www.cdc.gov/zika/

 

Overview

On Monday, February 1, 2016, The World Health Organization declared the Zika virus and its suspected link to birth defects an international public health emergency. The virus is “spreading explosively” in the Americas and it is likely that four million individuals will be infected within the year.

A student at the College of William and Mary contracted the Zika virus while traveling in South America during the recent winter break. The most concern is for pregnant women who live in or have traveled to areas where the virus is actively transmitted, as the virus can spread to the fetus and may cause birth defects. The infection appears to be linked to the development of unusually small heads and brain damage in newborns.

The Zika virus is thought to cause microcephaly, a condition that leads to exceptionally small infant head size

Photo source: New York Times: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/12094029/Zika...

About the Zika Virus

The Zika virus is a mosquito-transmitted infection similar to Dengue, Yellow Fever and West Nile viruses. First discovered in Uganda in 1947, the virus began to spread widely for the first time in the Western Hemisphere in late May 2015. It is now estimated that well over one million people have been infected with the Zika virus. There is no know vaccine or cure for the virus.

The virus is transmitted by the Aedes species of mosquito. These mosquitoes become infected when they feed on a person who is already infected with the virus. The Aedes species of mosquito are aggressive daytime feeders and live both indoors and outdoors.

http://www.thebreakingtimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Zika-virus.jpg

Symptoms

  • Approximately 4 in 5 people infected have no symptoms
  • Common symptoms include fever, rash, joint pain and/or conjunctivitis
  • Symptoms last a few days to a week
  • Hospitalization is typically uncommon and deaths are rare1

Pregnant Women and Zika

There is a possibility that Zika can cause Microcephaly or unusually small heads and damaged brains in newborn children. Women who are pregnant and live in affected areas or have traveled to affected areas should be tested for the Zika virus. The CDC has recommended that women who are in their third trimester of pregnancy should postpone travel to areas where transmission of the virus is ongoing. If travel cannot be postponed, travel precautions should be followed.

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-GrGYzb7VMoA/VlANgIarfpI/AAAAAAAATKc/Fthr07KBNxs/s1600/Microcephaly-baby.jpg

Photo Source: http://www.healththenmore.com/2015/11/zika-virus-mosquito-borne-disease-...

Areas of Active Transmission

The CDC has issued travel warnings due to the Zika virus for the following areas:

  • Cape Verde
  • The Caribbean – Barbados, Curaçao, Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Martinique, Puerto Rico, Saint Martin, U.S. Virgin Islands
  • Central America – Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama
  • Mexico
  • Pacific Islands – American Samoa, Samoa
  • South America – Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Suriname, Venezuela

For the most recent travel warnings, visit the CDC website at: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/zika-information

World map showing countries and territories with reported active transmission of Zika virus (as of February 1, 2016). Countries are listed in the table below.

Source: Center for Disease Control and Prevention: http://www.cdc.gov/zika/index.html

Who Mosquitoes are attracted to?

Mosquitoes are most attracted to people whom they can sense the best. This includes people who:

  1. have large amounts of cholesterol on their skin (people who process Cholesterol efficiently)
  2. emit large quantities of carbon dioxide
  3. are pregnant
  4. have recently ingested beer 5. wear vibrant colors

Prevention

For prevention of mosquito bites, the CDC recommends the following steps:

  1. Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants
  2. Stay in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens
  3. Sleep under a mosquito bed net
  4. Use EPA registered insect repellents with at least 20% DEET. http://www.epa.gov/insect-repellents/find-insect-repellent-right-you
  5. Treat clothing and gear with permethrin or purchase permethrin-treated items.

Treatment

There are no known antidotes for the Zeka virus. Treatment of Zeka virus symptoms include the following:

  • Get plenty of rest
  • Drink fluids to prevent dehydration
  • Take medicine such as acetaminophen to relieve fever and pain
  • Do not take aspirin or ibuprofen

Conclusion

The possibility of contracting the Zeka virus in the United State is currently low. However, the risk may increase as the virus spreads and as those from affected areas travel back to the United States. The risk of infection may increase during warmer months as mosquito activity increases. Therefore, it is prudent to take precautionary measures to prevent mosquito-borne viruses and to know the signs and symptoms of the Zika virus.


[1] CDC: http://www.cdc.gov/zika/symptoms/index.html