5 things you need to know about the alarming Zika virus

5 things you need to know about the alarming Zika virus

It is important to stay up to date on the latest health news and public health concerns. The World Health Organization (WHO) recently declared the Zika virus as a public health emergency of international concern.

As recently reported by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (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.

In May 2015, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) issued an alert regarding the first confirmed Zika virus infection in Brazil. The outbreak in Brazil led to reports of Guillain-Barré syndrome and pregnant women giving birth to babies with birth defects and poor pregnancy outcomes.

Here are 5 things you need to know about the alarming Zika virus.

1. Some countries have advised not getting pregnant:
Some cases of Zika virus in pregnant women have caused babies to have birth defects, including abnormally small heads. The public health concern has become so high in El Salvador, that health officials have recommended women to hold off on pregnancy for a few years, the New York Times reported.

2. Tropical Asia is preparing for Zika:
Tropical Southeast Asian countries have said that they are “bracing for the mosquito-borne Zika virus, with Malaysia saying it could “spread quickly” if introduced,” Reuters reported.

3. Air travel has not dropped:
American Airlines reported that they have not suffered a decline in sales since the Zika virus became a health concern. However, they also note that it is too early to tell if numbers will drop. The company is offering pregnant customers and their partners refunds for tickets to regions affected by Zika.

4. A vaccine is being worked on:
Hawaii Biotech Inc has joined the race to create a vaccine for the Zika virus. The company started a program to test Zika vaccines last fall, when the virus started spreading in Brazil. “Right now, we are in the pre-clinical stage, as I suspect everyone is,”  Dr. Elliot Parks, a former Johnson & Johnson executive, told Reuters in an interview late on Thursday.

5. WHO has declared Zika a global emergency:
The World Health Organization has declared the Zika virus outbreak as a global emergency, putting it in the same level of concern as Ebola. Currently, there is no vaccine, medication or treatment for the virus.

Note: None of the information in our website is intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. The content on our website is for educational purposes only.

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REFERENCES:
1. “The Latest On Zika: One Mother’s Story.” The Huffington Post. HuffingtonPost.com, n.d. Web. 1 Feb. 2016.
2. “American Airlines Says Too Early to Tell Zika’s Impact on Travel.” Reuters. Thomson Reuters, 29 Jan. 2016. Web. 01 Feb. 2016.
3. “Tropical Asia Braces for Zika as Thailand Appears to Steer Clear.” Reuters. Thomson Reuters, 29 Jan. 2016. Web. 01 Feb. 2016.
4. “Hawaii Biotech Joins Race to Develop Zika Vaccine.” Reuters. Thomson Reuters, 29 Jan. 2016. Web. 01 Feb. 2016.
5. “Zika Virus.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 26 Jan. 2016. Web. 01 Feb. 2016.
6. “El Salvador’s Advice on Zika Virus: Don’t Have Babies.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 25 Jan. 2016. Web. 01 Feb. 2016.
7. “Zika-linked Condition: WHO Declares Global Emergency.” BBC News. BBC News, n.d. Web. 01 Feb. 2016.

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