What is the Zika Virus?

February 16, 2016

With the words Zika Virus spanning across headlines, news reports and social media outlets, it’s hard not to worry about the possibilities and proximity of the virus. If you suspect that you or someone you know has Zika fever from a mosquito bite, please contact a medical professional. If you are searching for guidance and clarity about the virus, then read on.

What Is the Zika Virus?

The Zika fever is a dengue-like illness caused by mosquito-borne flavivirus. The Ministry of Health of Brazil has reported an increase in the number of babies born with microcephaly and other poor pregnancy outcomes in areas where the Zika virus has been reported. Fetuses and infants of women who have the virus should be looked at by a medical professional for possible congenital infections or neurologic abnormalities.

Where Is the Zika Virus Spreading from?

The virus has been identified in various countries in South America, Mexico and the Caribbean. Outbreaks of Zika fever have been previously documented in Africa, Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands.

How Is Zika Virus Transmitted?

Transmission of the virus happens when someone is bitten by an infected mosquito. Even though it is rare, perinatal, in utero, sexual and transfusion transmissions have also been reported. If you are a potentially infected man with a pregnant partner then it is advised to abstain from sex or use condoms during intercourse for the entire pregnancy.

What Are Zika Virus Symptoms?

The Zika fever is a mild illness with symptoms similar to mild dengue fever. Severe cases that require hospitalizations are typically uncommon. The illness usually resolves itself within a week and treatment is symptomatic. Pregnant women who are experiencing a fever should be treated with acetaminophen. Here are the symptoms you may experience if you have Zika fever:

  • Acute fever. This fever may even be low grade.
  • Maculopapular rash
  • Arthralgia
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Myalgia
  • Headache
  • Retro-orbital pain
  • Vomiting

OB-GYN Women’s Centre of Lakewood Ranch

We want all of our patients to be as informed as possible. If you are pregnant or trying to conceive and have recently traveled to an area where the Zika virus is active, please take precautions to avoid mosquito bites and get evaluated by a doctor. Contact us today for more information.