All you need to know about the Zika virus

All you need to know about the Zika virus

The world has been hit by another deadly viral attack, the Zika virus.

The Zika virus is a member of the virus family Flaviviridae and the genus Flavivirus, transmitted by daytime-active Aedes mosquitoes.

Zika virus is spread to people through mosquito bites. The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes).

The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting from several days to a week. Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon.

The World Health Organization has declared the Zika virus "public health emergency of international concern" .

The mosquito-borne virus is very prevalent in South America - El Salvador, Brazil and French Polynesia.

Symptoms

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.

The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week.

Zika virus usually remains in the blood of an infected person for a few days but it can be found longer in some people.

Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon. Deaths are rare.

Treatment

No vaccine or medications are available to prevent or treat Zika infections.

Treat the symptoms by getting plenty rest, drinking fluids to prevent dehydration.

Take medicine such as acetaminophen to relieve fever and pain.

Do not take aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like ibuprofen and naproxen. Aspirin and NSAIDs should be avoided until dengue can be ruled out to reduce the risk of hemorrhage (bleeding).

If you are taking medicine for another medical condition, talk to your healthcare provider before taking additional medication.

 

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