Zika: Symptoms & Prevention
The Zika Virus was first identified in Uganda in 1947. The Aedes mosquito that transmits the Zika Virus also spreads dengue fever, yellow fever, and chikungunya viruses. It's active during the day, especially early mornings and early evenings. A mosquito bites an infected person and then passes Zika, Dengue or Chikungunya viruses to other people it bites. Zika outbreaks were unheard of outside of Africa until 2007, when it spread to the South Pacific.
With no vaccine or treatment available for the disease, doctors advise patients to get plenty of rest, drink fluids to prevent dehydration, take pain relief and fever medicine, and avoid non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. As the symptoms for Zika Virus, dengue fever, and chikungunya are similar, there are blood tests to verify which disease you have.
If you are taking medicine for another medical condition, talk to your healthcare provider before taking additional medication. Patients who are taking medicines for other medical conditions need to talk to their doctors.
- Joint pain
- Conjunctivitis (red eyes)
- Muscle pain
- If you have had contact with someone infected with Zika, contact your doctor immediately
- If you are pregnant and exhibit symptoms of Zika, get yourself tested for Zika
- Zika spreads through sexual contact, use condoms (both male & female
- Research don't know the precise length of time that Zika stays in the semen and vaginal fluids of people infected with Zika, and how long after infection it can be passed to partners. But it is certain Zika can remain in semen longer than in other body fluids, including vaginal fluids, urine, and blood.
- Care providers, pregnant women who take care of loved ones who are infected need to take extra precautions.
Tips on Prevention
- Avoid mosquito bites
- During the first week of illness, avoid mosquito bites to prevent spreading the virus to others
- Always wear long sleeves tops and long pants even during the daytime
- Sleep in an air-conditioned room and install mosquito nets on doors and windows
- Use electric fans when you cannot stay in air-conditioned rooms
- Always sleep under mosquito netting
- Use mosquito repellent and sprays on the netting and around the house
- Clear the area around your house & neighbourhood of stagnant water as these are common breeding grounds for mosquitoes
- Pregnant women are cautioned against travelling to areas where Zika Virus infections are prevalent
- Prevent dehydration by drinking plenty of fluids
- Acetaminophen for fever and body pain.
- Do Not Take aspirin or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) until dengue is ruled out, to reduce bleeding risk.