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Zika Virus – What You Need To Know

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that the Zika virus has now spread through both South and Central America and expects 3-4 million people to be infected in 2016.

The Zika virus is a mosquito-borne infection, which isn’t harmful in most cases. However, it may be harmful for pregnancies, as it’s been potentially linked to birth defects. In addition, there are now reports of potential neurological and auto-immune complications of the Zika virus disease

Find out what symptoms the virus causes and what steps you can take to protect yourself.

Please click on the link provided for more information. Zika Virus

Key facts

  • Zika virus disease is caused by a virus transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes.
  • People with Zika virus disease usually have symptoms that can include mild fever, skin rashes, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise or headache. These symptoms normally last for 2-7 days.
  • There is no specific treatment or vaccine currently available.
  • The best form of prevention is protection against mosquito bites.
  • The virus is known to circulate in Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific.

Potential complications of Zika virus disease

During large outbreaks in French Polynesia and Brazil in 2013 and 2015 respectively, national health authorities reported potential neurological and auto-immune complications of Zika virus disease. Recently in Brazil, local health authorities have observed an increase in Guillain-Barré syndrome which coincided with Zika virus infections in the general public, as well as an increase in babies born with microcephaly in northeast Brazil. Agencies investigating the Zika outbreaks are finding an increasing body of evidence about the link between Zika virus and microcephaly. However, more investigation is needed to better understand the relationship between microcephaly in babies and the Zika virus. Other potential causes are also being investigated.

Will it affect my holiday plans?

1) Cases have been seen in Barbados, Bolivia, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Saint Martin, Suriname and Venezuela.

2) A recent study has suggested that once the weather warms up, Zika-carrying mosquitoes could spread along parts of the east and west coasts of the US and much of the Midwest, where about 200 million people live. What’s more, US has some very humid areas where the mosquito could survive all year round – and those areas are home to 23 million Americans.

3) It’s not just you! Cases have been reported that have been transmitted through sexual contact in the first 28 days after a partner has returned from an infected area.

4) It is highly likely to reach Southern Europe and southern states of the United States of America later this year.

Public Health England is advising women who are, or might become pregnant to consider avoiding travel to any area affected by Zika virus. For other travellers, avoiding mosquito bites is key. It’s important to remember, too, that unlike malaria-carrying mosquitoes, which are most active at dusk and night-time, the Aedes mosquito is active all day.

Please click on the link provided for more information. Zika Virus