The latest serious disease that has begun making the rounds is called the Zika virus. The Zika virus is particularly dangerous to unborn babies, making it a very serious threat to pregnant women. The Zika virus is currently being experienced in Central America, the Caribbean, Mexico, South America, the Pacific Islands, and Cape Verde. However, it is spreading and is expected to continue spreading. The Zika virus is spread through the bite of a mosquito and possibly through tick and tsetse fly bites.
About the Zika Virus
According to the Centers for Disease Control, CDC, the source of the Zika virus is currently only located in countries outside the United States. However, there have already been a number of patients here in the U.S. who have been diagnosed with the Zika virus. These individuals have visited one of the countries where there is a Zika outbreak. Additionally, doctors are trying to confirm whether a patient contracted the virus through sexual contact with someone who has the virus.
Zika Virus Symptoms
The Zika virus causes flu-like symptoms that may include fever, rash, headache, joint and muscle pain, and conjunctivitis (pink eye). It is estimated that only about 1 of every 5 people infected will experience symptoms – many people will never even realize they had it. Those who do experience symptoms should recover completely within about a week. Treatment includes getting plenty of rest and drinking fluids to avoid dehydration. Patients should take acetaminophen, such as Tylenol, to alleviate any pain associated with the illness.
How Zika Impacts Pregnancy
While the Zika virus is generally not serious, it is very dangerous in women who are pregnant. The illness has been found to cause microcephaly in babies. This is a serious birth defect in the brain. The virus is passed from the mother to the fetus in the womb. There is still much that doctors and scientists need to learn about the relationship between pregnancy and the Zika virus. Until these questions are answered the CDC has issued a travel advisory for any woman who is pregnant or who may become pregnant. Pregnant women who have recently traveled to one of the impacted countries should visit her doctor immediately, even if they have not felt ill.
Prevention of the Zika Virus
Those who are traveling to countries impacted by the Zika virus should take every precaution to prevent mosquito bites. Use strong mosquito repellent and avoid areas where mosquito are likely to be located. Wear long sleeves and long pants and stay indoors during the evening and early morning when mosquito activity is more prevalent. Review the CDC website and take the precautions they advise. Since there is still a lot to learn about the virus and its spread it is important to stay up to date on the recommendations. The Zika virus is not currently located in the United States. The impact of the Zika virus on babies is quite serious and may cause brain damage. If your infant has suffered from a serious illness or has been injured during the birth process, contact the legal team at Levin & Perconti to learn more about your options.
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