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Everything you need to know about Zika Virus

ZIKA VIRUS

Zika Virus is primarily a mosquito-borne infection. Mosquitos act as vectors which mean they can transfer disease-causing viruses from host to host. Zika Virus especially with rising temperatures in Canada is on the increase and becoming more of a concern each passing year. People infected with the Zika Virus usually do not display symptoms; this can be troublesome and care for women who are looking to become pregnant because they can pass it to their fetus and this can include two to certain congenital disabilities such as Microcephaly and Guillain-Barre Syndrome.

There is growing evidence that Zika virus is transmittable through sex and blood transfusions. Most will not have symptoms, but if they do, they consist of fever, rash, joint pain, red eyes, muscle pain, headache. The best way to prevent against Zika is to prevent against mosquito bites there is no vaccine or medication.

 

SYMPTOMS:

Symptoms will often appear within 3-12 days and resolve within 2-7 days.

Main Symptoms:

  • Red rash on the skin covered with small bumps
  • Red eyes
  • General symptoms: weakness, headaches, lack of energy
  • Short-term muscle/joint pain: hands and feet
  • Low-grade fever

80% of people infected with Zika may not show any symptoms; this can prove to be a problem for people looking to become pregnant meaning they can be affected leading to congenital disabilities that may develop during pregnancy.

See a healthcare provider if you: develop symptoms consistent with Zika virus, and you or your sexual partner have traveled to the country with reported cases of Zika.

People who are looking to become pregnant and those with underlying conditions such as:

Cancer, Type 1 Diabetes, Weakened immune system should take extra precautions.

RISKS:

If you are traveling to countries in the U.S., the Caribbean and Central and South America with reported Zika Virus you are in danger of contracting the disease. Exposure to the Virus during a development of the Fetus increases the risks of congenital disabilities such as:

  • Microcephaly
  • Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS)
  • Hearing loss
  • Club foot and contracted limbs
  • Incomplete brain development
  • Abnormal development of eyes
  • Neurologic abnormalities including irritability, seizuresSixand spasticity

TREATMENT:

Zika virus diagnosed through a laboratory test and your healthcare provider will determine whether you should be tested based on your:

  • pregnancy status
  • symptoms
  • places and dates of travel
  • activities

Currently, there’s no cure for Zika virus. Treatment aims to relieve symptoms.

PROTECT AGAINST ZIKA VIRUS

The best way to reduce the risk of contracting the virus is to prevent from bites.

Mosquitoes bite at dawn and dusk

  • Use insect repellent
  • Cover up and wear light colours
  • Use nets and cover beds
  • Stay in rooms with air conditioning
  • Make sure windows and screens are in good shape

 

For Women:

Pregnant woman and planning pregnancy

  • Avoid travelling areas with Zika virus outbreak
  • If travel is a necessity make sure strict preventions are taken towards not being bitten

If you want to become pregnant it is strongly encouraged that you wait at least 2 months before trying to conceive after travelling to countries where Zika Virus is a concern.

 

For Males:

Zika Virus can survive a long time in the semen of a man. Healthcare providers recommend that condoms are worn correctly and consistently. Some people may avoid having sex with:

  • A pregnant partner all together for duration of pregnancy.
  • 6 months after travel if you and your partner are trying to conceive
  • 6 months after travel with any sexual partner

 

Men should postpone semen donations for six months. Men and Women who have traveled to countries where Zika Virus is present should wait a min of 21 days before donating:

  • Cells
  • Blood
  • Tissues
  • Organs

Monitor for symptoms:

  • Low-grade fever
  • Headaches
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Lack of energy
  • Rash
  • Red eyes

If you experience symptoms within 14 days see a physician or health care, provider

Levels of risk according to Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) helps outline potential hazard for Canadian travellers to some areas that have high risk of Zika Virus

Level 1 – Practice usual precautions

Level 2 – Practice special precautions

Level 3 – Avoid nonessential travel

Level 4 – Avoid all Travel

 

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