The Ins And Outs Of The Zika Virus
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The Ins And Outs Of The Zika Virus

Those mosquitoes are at it again.

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The Ins And Outs Of The Zika Virus
Source: NPR

The newest exotic virus being detected in the United States is the Zika virus, and it's important that people learn to recognize the symptoms before the illness becomes more widespread throughout the world, and before people make the decision to travel to areas that have active cases of the virus. It is known to spread to people through mosquito bites, but the case discovered in Texas was spread through sexual contact.

The most common symptoms of the Zika virus are mild, and they include conjunctivitis, rash, joint pain, and fever. Anything that expands beyond these symptoms requiring hospitalization is uncommon, but there is no specific vaccine or treatment for the Zika virus quite yet, making it a bit uneasy to deal with for healthcare workers within the United States.

Areas with active Zika cases include South America, Mexico, Central America, Africa, Southeast Asia, and a few cases reported in the United States. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a level two travel warning for people planning on traveling to any of the areas with active cases of the Zika virus.

In Texas on February 2nd, the first case of Zika virus that has been spread locally within the United States was detected. The patient became ill with the virus after contracting it through sexual contact with someone who had contracted it by traveling to one of the above mentioned areas. The CDC advises people that have recently traveled to one of the Zika filled areas to use condoms to prevent the local spread of the virus. Researchers are currently trying to discover how long the virus stays in bodily fluids after an infection, but at this point, no one knows. Although it was discovered that the virus can be obtained through sexual contact, the largest threat remains to be mosquitoes.

The people who should be especially careful of avoiding contact with the virus are pregnant women. Women who are pregnant who contracted the Zika virus in Brazil have been reported to have children who have microcephaly. Microcephaly is a birth defect where a baby's head and brain are smaller than average babies' heads and brains, causing for potential learning disabilities, seizures, feeding problems, hearing loss, and vision problems. Researchers are currently studying the relationship between the Zika virus and microcephaly more in depth as the virus becomes more prominent, but it has been reported in Brazil.

Some people are concerned about the 2016 Olympics and the Zika virus. The olympics are being held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the region where one million people have been infected by the Zika virus. Officials have been saying that athletes will be taking precautionary measures due to the the spread of this illness. Let's hope they help spectators take precautionary measures, as well.

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