Infectious disease medical professionals diagnose and treat infections including Ebola, hepatitis, Leptospirosis, HIV/AIDS, MRSA, meningitis, West Nile Virus, and more. The Zika virus is currently in the news. Nine pregnant women in the US have tested positive. One of the women gave birth to a baby with microcephaly and at least one woman had an abortion after brain atrophy was found in the fetus. Microcephaly is a birth defect where a baby’s head is smaller than normal, resulting in a brain that may not have developed properly.
Infectious disease expert Dr. Peter J. Hotez, Dean at the National School of Tropical Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, states that Hawaii and US gulf coast states host two species of mosquitoes which may transmit the Zika virus. He warns that if Zika gains ground in the US, aggressive public health control will be needed.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes Zika:
About 1 in 5 people infected with Zika virus become ill (i.e., develop Zika).
The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, or conjunctivitis (red eyes). Other common symptoms include muscle pain and headache. The incubation period (the time from exposure to symptoms) for Zika virus disease is not known, but is likely to be a few days to a week.
See your healthcare provider if you are pregnant and develop a fever, rash, joint pain, or red eyes within 2 weeks after traveling to a place where Zika has been reported. Be sure to tell your health care provider where you traveled.
The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week after being bitten by an infected mosquito.
People usually don’t get sick enough to go to the hospital, and they very rarely die of Zika. For this reason, many people might not realize they have been infected.
Zika virus usually remains in the blood of an infected person for about a week but it can be found longer in some people.
Once a person has been infected, he or she is likely to be protected from future infections.