5 Facts About the Zika Virus

You might find yourself on the hunt for Zika virus facts after coming home from a recent vacation where the virus was or before planning an upcoming trip. More people heard about this virus after outbreaks occurred in parts of the United States, including both Miami and Texas. Reading some basic facts can help you protect yourself and your family and friends.

Common Symptoms

While you may want to read up on Zika virus facts relating to where the virus occurs and the number of people infected every year, you should also look at the symptoms of the virus. According to the World Health Organization, many symptoms are similar to those you might experience while battling the flu, including a low-grade fever, headache, tiredness and pain in your joints or muscles. The WHO points out that these symptoms may last for as little as two days or for as long as seven days.

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Who is at Risk?

Before you completely change your travel plans, keep in mind that some people have a higher risk of contracting this virus as others do. Those most at risk are pregnant women. Though there is a small chance that the virus might spread through sexual intercourse, most people contract the virus through a bug bite. That makes those living in states where mosquitoes commonly thrive more susceptible. Those living in southern states like Florida and Georgia, those living along the east or west coasts and those living in Hawaii are all at risk. The Zika virus is also potentially dangerous in those with weakened immune systems, including the elderly and children, because their bodies cannot naturally fight off the virus.

How Does Zika Spread?

The most common way Zika spreads is through mosquito bites. If you read Zika virus facts online, you’ll find that many outbreaks occur in the same general population. This is because the mosquitoes are more prevalent in those areas. Scientists believe that they can create a vaccine that will keep people safe from the virus. Researchers used the vaccine developed as protection against West Nile Virus and tweaked it to create a vaccine suitable for the Zika virus. Giving this vaccine to those most at risk of contracting the virus may stop it from spreading.

Guillain-Barré Syndrome Connection

Many people do not realize that there is a connection or link between the Zika virus and Guillain-Barré Syndrome. Guillain-Barré Syndrome is a medical condition that causes the body to send more blood cells into the nerve groups following an infection. Some patients may find that they suddenly feel extremely weak or extremely tired and that they have a hard time doing simple activities. This condition essentially causes the immune system to identify the body’s nerves as an infection that it must fight.

Preventing Zika

If you read up on Zika virus facts because you traveled to or plan on traveling to a site where the virus is common, you must now how to prevent the virus from taking over your own body. You should spend more time inside and less time in areas where mosquitoes are common. If you do spend time outside, always wear long clothing that covers your legs, arms and face. You can also wear insect repellent and take steps to reduce the number of mosquitoes around your residence.

The Zika virus went from a little known disease to one featured on major news reports in just a few days. Those who contract the virus are at risk of developing medical conditions, and pregnant women may pass the virus on to their unborn children. Reading some basic Zika virus facts will give you an idea of how you can protect yourself and your loved ones.