Molina Health Care Joined us today to discuss the Zika Virus: www.MolinaHealthcare.com
What is Zika virus and what are the symptoms?
· Zika is a virus spread to people through aedes aegypti (yellow fever) and aedes albopictus (Asian tiger) mosquitoes.
· The virus is compared to the dengue and chikungunya viruses which are both spread by the same type of mosquitoes and result in similar symptoms, which include fever, rash, joint pain, red eyes, muscle pain and headache.
· 80% of infected individuals show no symptoms, which are usually mild and appear two to seven days after being bitten by a Zika-carrying mosquito.
How is Zika transmitted?
· While Zika is primarily transmitted through mosquitoes, the virus can also be spread during pregnancy from mother to baby. There are reports linking this virus to a risk of being born with microcephaly – a birth defect where a baby’s head is much smaller than expected due to a problem with development during pregnancy.
· Zika can also be transmitted sexually. When engaging in sexual contact, it is important to use protective measures such as condoms, especially when your partner has traveled to a country where Zika is prevalent.
How is the virus treated?
· While there is currently no vaccine or medication to treat the virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that individuals who are infected get plenty of rest, drink lots of fluids, take a pain and fever reducer (acetaminophen or paracentamol). The virus usually remains in the blood stream for anywhere from a few days to a week.
· It is also recommended that individuals who have these symptoms should avoid taking anti-inflammatory drugs (ibuprofen, aspirin, naproxen) until the dengue virus is ruled out in order to reduce the risk of hemorrhaging.
What are some important tips to prevent mosquito bites?
· Sleep in a well-screened room or buy a mosquito bed net. In addition, wear clothing that covers your body and wear Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellent.
· Stay in places with air conditioning and screens to keep mosquitos outside.
· Women who are pregnant avoid traveling to affected areas and be sure to take preventative measures against mosquito bites if they are in an infected area.
· The Florida Department of Health recommends draining standing water (no matter how seemingly small the amount) once or twice a week.
What is Florida doing in response to Zika concerns?
· Health officials in Florida have used mosquito traps for targeted insect control efforts.
· Very recently the CDC announced a $10 million grant to four Florida universities for research on how to keep the Zika virus from spreading. This will give Florida the ability to evaluate new approaches to mosquito control that haven’t yet been tried in the U.S. (Miami Herald)