What is Zika?
Zika infection is a disease caused by a Zika virus. The virus is carried by mosquitoes, which spread the mosquito of dengue and chikungunya disease. Though Zika was first discovered in 1947 (in the Zika forest in Uganda), it hasn’t bothered humans much in all these years.
However, unlike dengue and chikungunya which can only be spread through mosquitoes, health experts believe that you can also be infected Zika through unprotected sex with a person infected with the virus. And a husband who is suffering from Zika can communicate the disease to his wife, when he suffered symptoms have disappeared. The doctors are not sure how long this virus can be in an infected person’s body. The use of condoms is an effective way to prevent the spread of Zika.
Is it true Zika can cause birth defects in an unborn baby?
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has confirmed a link between Zika in pregnancy with microcephaly (a condition where the baby was born with a smaller head than normal and incomplete brain development). However, not all women who suffer Zika will give birth to babies with microcephaly. Scientists are still studying why some babies are affected and others are not.
Likewise, experts still do not know at this stage of pregnancy is Zika more dangerous to an unborn baby. It is estimated that the first three months is a critical time, as the major organs of the baby is growing fast at this stage.
In Brazil, a country that is experiencing the spread of the disease, women who suffer Zika and those living in areas where there are many cases occur Zika being monitored closely by doctors. An ultrasound scan is used to monitor the baby’s head size during pregnancy.
What are the symptoms of Zika virus infection?
Zika can take up to 12 days to appear after a person is bitten. A rash which can cause severe irritation, are the main characteristics of this disease. Other symptoms are:
- mild fever
- muscle aches
- joint pain
These symptoms last for two to seven days.
How can I protect myself from Zika?
So far, no vaccine for zika. The main preventive measure is to eliminate mosquitoes and their breeding places.
Mosquitoes lay their eggs in stagnant water. Keep your house and surroundings free of stagnant water, rotting vegetation and old flower pots, especially in the rainy season.
- wear long-sleeved clothing and long pants to reduce skin exposure to mosquito bites;
- wear light-colored clothing (dark colors attract mosquitoes);
- using oil-based creams and spray mosquito repellent citronella component other herbal-based;
- using mosquito nets while sleeping;
- mosquito trap on the window;
- air-conditioning also helps repel mosquitoes;
- use condoms to prevent sexually transmitted infections.
Mosquito repellent that is gaining popularity is the electric insect repellent or spray, let the material is dispersed in the air for several minutes before getting back to where it was sprayed.