Zika Virus: Health Risks, Symptoms, and Prevention

Virus Health

Understanding the for Better Health

Zika virus has become a growing concern for people worldwide, with the World Health Organization officially declaring it a public health emergency. While there is now an effective vaccine available, it is important to understand what it is and the associated health risks to be better able to prevent it.

What is Zika Virus?

Zika virus is a mosquito-borne virus primarily transmitted by the “Aedes species” of mosquito. It is responsible for the sometimes-debilitating viral illness known as Zika, which is characterized in humans by a rash, fever, joint pain, and red eyes.

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Zika Virus Health Risks

Public health experts have determined that Zika virus is a cause of microcephaly and other birth defects, primarily in pregnant women. Additionally, it is a cause of the potentially debilitating Guillain-Barré syndrome, which can cause muscle weakness, paralysis, and sometimes even death. Zika virus can also be transmitted through sexual contact.

Symptoms of Zika

The most common symptoms of Zika are rash, fever, joint pain, and red eyes. For other people, the infection can cause no symptoms at all, or very mild symptoms.

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Prevention of Zika Virus

The most effective means of prevention is to avoid mosquito bites by using insect repellant, wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants, and avoiding standing water. Additionally, it is important to practice safe sex when traveling to places where Zika virus is known to be present.

Seeking Treatment for Zika

If you develop any of these symptoms after traveling to an area where Zika virus is known to be present, contact your healthcare provider and make sure they are aware of your recent travels and any possible exposure to Zika virus. Antiviral medications and other treatments may be available to alleviate symptoms.

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The Bottom Line: Keep Up with Zika Virus Developments for Better Health Outcomes

Zika virus is a potentially debilitating, yet preventable, viral illness. It is important to keep up-to-date with the latest developments related to Zika virus and its transmission, so that you can take the appropriate steps to maintain and improve your health. By understanding the health risks, symptoms and methods of prevention, you can benefit from improved health and well-being.

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