Zika virus infection is a mild viral illness spread by mosquitoes. The incubation period is 3–12 days. No specific therapy is available for the virus Zika infection, and acute symptoms usually resolve within 4-7 days. Take paracetamol for pain and fever if necessary. Do not take aspirin or any other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like naproxen or ibuprofen since it increases the risk of bleeding.
1. The Virus Zika: What Are the Symptoms?
- low-grade fever (from 37.8°C to 38.5°C)
- post-infection asthenia
- cutaneous maculopapular rash
- a headache, retro-ocular headaches
- arthralgia; muscle and joint pain
More hardly observed symptoms involve pruritus, digestive problems (diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain), and mucous membrane ulcerations (aphthae). Zika virus infection often causes a mild disease, and no particular action is required. However, since Zika infection may cause a rash that might be confused with illnesses such as dengue or measles, these serious diseases need ruling out. Diagnosis of Zika will foremost be based on symptoms, travel history, and medical history of other diseases including dengue, measles, and rubella.
2. The Virus Zika: How May Cause Brain Damage in Babies?
Experts are not sure how it happens, or whether the virus is to blame. The hypothesis that the Zika virus causes microcephaly (uncommonly small heads and damaged brains) appeared only in October when doctors in Brazil noticed an emergence in babies with the phenomenon. It could be that other factors (e.g. simultaneous infection with other viruses) contribute to the rise. Researchers may even claim that Zika virus is not the leading cause even though currently circumstantial evidence suggests that it is. However, how common microcephaly has become in Brazil’s epidemic is still a question.
3. The Virus Zika: What Is Microcephaly?
Babies with microcephaly are born with abnormally small heads. In approximately 15 percent of cases, a small head is only a small head, and there is no effect on the infant. In the remainder of instances, however, the baby’s brain may not have grown adequately during pregnancy or may have stopped developing in the first years of life. These infants may experience a range of problems, such as intellectual deficits, developmental delays or hearing loss.
The consequences may vary widely from child to child. Identifying an underlying cause helps physicians to advise parents about their newborn’s prognosis. Microcephaly can also be activate by infections of the fetus, including cytomegalovirus, toxoplasmosis, and German measles (rubella). Microcephaly may also be triggered if a pregnant woman consumes alcohol, has diabetes or is severely malnourish. If the defect emerges in an infant’s first years, it may be a consequence of a brain injury during labor. Up to this time, no treatment for an unusually small head is available.
4. The Virus Zika: How to Prevent?
Until more is known, WHO recommends that women who are pregnant or contemplating pregnancy in the near term should consider postponing traveling to areas with Zika virus existence. If traveling in Zika affected areas, these women should consult their doctor or healthcare provider. All travelers need to avoid mosquito bites, including:
- Wear hats, socks, long-sleeved shirts, and long pants.
- Use bed nets as necessary.
- Stay in screened-in or air-conditioned accommodation.
- Use permethrin-treated gear and clothing (such as boots, socks, pants, and tents).
- Use insect repellents containing DEET, IR3535, Picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE). Always use according to the product label.
- Apply the sunscreen first and then the repellent.
- Get rid of water containers such as pots, bottles, cans, old tires, etc.
5. The Virus Zika: Is There any Precaution for Pregnant Women?
It is advisable for you to take blood tests and ultrasound scans. On January 19, the C.D.C. issued pro tem guidelines for women in that circumstance and for their doctors as well. In general, women who have visited any region with Zika disease should consult a healthcare provider. Those who have symptoms of infection such as fever, rash, headache, joint pain, red eyes, and general malaise during their trip or within two weeks after returning should take a blood test for the virus. The recommendation is controversial since even women with no symptoms might have been infect — 80 percent of infect people do not feel ill, and there is no evidence that infants are hurt only when the mothers have been visibly ill.
Even for women who take blood tests…!
Even for women who take blood tests, the result is not entirely reassuring. Tests for the virus only work in the first week after infection. Tests for antibodies could be done later, but they may represent false positives if the mother has had dengue, chikungunya, and yellow fever. Pregnant women who have travel to infect regions – whether they have symptoms or not, and whether their blood tests are negative or positive – should have an ultrasound scan to see if their fetuses are growing calcification or microcephaly of the skull.
How and when detecting microcephaly
An ultrasound, unfortunately, cannot detect microcephaly earlier than the end of the second trimester. Some expectant mothers also should take amniocentesis to test the fluid for Zika virus. However, amniocentesis is slightly risky for the fetus and thus is not recommend before 15 weeks gestation. A few companies are working to find rapid tests for Zika infection. The C.D.C. also distributes test kits and training courses to state health departments during outbreaks in order to increase testing capacity.
If you are pregnant and develop a rash, fever, red eyes, or joint pain within two weeks of travel to a Zika virus affect country, please visit your healthcare provider and tell them your travel history. Insect repellents containing DEET, IR3535, or Picaridin are safe for pregnant women and children older than two months when used as direct. Oil of lemon eucalyptus products should not be apply to children under three years of age.
Half of the pregnancies are unintentional. If you plan to visit a country where the virus Zika infection has been report, you should strictly follow birth control to ensure you do not get pregnant. Women who are accidentally pregnant while traveling will face blood tests, monthly ultrasounds and a big deal of anxiety. Why would you sign yourself up for that? We have enough in life to worry about, and you have no need to add that to your list.
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