We didn’t see Zika Virus coming to the US, nor did most care if it did. Without its association with microcephaly, it’s a minor illness with fever, rash, joint pain and red eyes. Most people don’t even know they have it. It is often known as Zika fever and has been around since the 1950’s in a small area of Africa and Asia. In the last ten years, it has spread across the Pacific Ocean to the French Polynesia, Mexico, Central and South America, and over the last few months, in several states in America. It was thought to be transmitted only by a type of mosquito, A. aegypti, but we are now learning that it can be passed through sexual transmission and from a pregnant woman to her baby.
Microcephaly is where the significant global health concern lies and there could possibly be other associations or conditions that we are just unaware of yet. Microcephaly is a birth defect where a baby’s head is smaller than expected and there is often developmental delay or mental deficiency seen with it. Pregnant woman should limit travel to areas where Zika is prevalent and take steps to prevent mosquito bites. They should wear long sleeve shirts and long pants, use EPA registered insect repellent, and treat clothing and gear with permethrin if traveling to areas where the virus is epidemic. You can visit the CDC website for additional information or precautions.