Zika Virus: All You Need to Know

12/02/16

Zika virus mosquito on magnifying glass showing close up of disease

At present, there is a Zika Virus outbreak spreading its way through South and Central America, with the worst affected area in Brazil, with an estimated 1.5 million cases reported country-wide.


ZIKA MAP 11082016(source: CDC)

The disease itself is most problematic in pregnant women, as it is thought to cause birth defects in unborn foetuses.

Symptoms include:

– Joint pain and swollen hands and feet
– Fever
– Headache
– Conjunctivitis
– Itchiness

Many cases can present with no symptoms whatsoever. In fit and healthy individuals, they may not even be aware that they have the disease.

Unfortunately, there is no vaccine for Zika Virus and, therefore, prevention of mosquito bites is currently the only way to avoid contraction. The mosquitoes that carry Zika Virus are primarily active during the daytime, particularly mid-morning and late afternoon.

Prevention methods:

–  Use a DEET-based mosquito repellent (at least level 50%).

–  Wear long loose clothing and cover as much exposed skin as possible.

–  Stay in accommodation with air conditioning and mosquito netting.

It is also thought that contraction may be possible via sexual intercourse from someone who is already infected, so avoid sexual contact with anyone who potentially has been exposed to Zika Virus for at least a month.

If you are pregnant and planning on travelling to a country affected by the Zika Virus, we would currently advise you not to travel. If it is imperative that you travel, ensure you use all bite-prevention methods available, keep an eye out for symptoms and seek medical help immediately if you start feeling unwell.

Our clinics currently stock 50% DEET-based mosquito repellents and clothes sprays. To buy them, you don’t need an appointment, just pop into one of our clinics.

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