The Zika virus first emerged in the 1940’s, in African countries such as Uganda, Sierra Leone, and Tanzania. Dr. Sergio Cortes states that the virus has recently started to circulate again in 9 Latin American countries, such as Brazil, Mexico and Colombia. The first new case of Zika occurred in Brazil in April 2015. There have been a significant increase in the number of cases since then, and caused great concern among health experts throughout the country. Dr. Sergio Cortes is worried that this Zika Virus may have a link to microcephaly and Guillain-Barre syndrome. Guillaine-Barre syndrome is a very serious neurological and autoimmune disease. Dr. Sergio Cortes has broken down this virus into various topics to inform us more.
The Zika virus is not a contagious disease and cannot be spread from person to person. The only way to get this virus is through the bite of the type of mosquito, Aedes aegypti. Not only can a person catch this virus from the mosquito, a mosquito that does not contain this disease that may sting a person who is carrying it, will in turn then be infected itself with the disease. Thus making the breakout of the disease very hard to control.
Symptoms and Diagnosis
The symptoms of this virus are not aggressive and normally last anywhere from 3 to 7 days. Dr. Sergio Cortes states that symptoms vary from person to person, but most common are fever, rash, or muscle aches. There are no further tests or examinations to identify the disease, at this time . The only way to diagnose the Zika virus is through a complex exam, which is offered only by three units of Fiocruz across the country, and the Evandro Chagas Institute.
For now, the only way to determine if you have the disease is through observation of the symptoms listed. If you are having these symptoms, it is important to see the physician, regardless of the severity of the symptoms.
There is no specified way to treat this illness, but symptoms can be relieved, says Dr. Sergio Cortes. People infected with this disease can use anti-inflammotory drugs or pain killers (perscribed by a physician).
How to Prevent
Dr. Sergio Cortes recommends to stay away from free standing water of any type. This includes stagnant water in pots, bottles, tires, puddles, etc. It is recommended to eliminate any standing water areas that you may have. Screened netting on all windows and around bedding if at all possible. If you are near an area of potential threat to mosquitos and you can not access the area, please reach out the Municiple Health Department.