Battle Creek Area Doctor Explains What Is Fact and Fiction About the Zika Virus
The Zica virus is the latest scary thing to come along, especially for prospective parents. Dr. Richard Van Enk, Director of Infection Prevention and Epidemiology at Bronson Hospital, appeared on WBCK's "Richard Piet Show" on Monday. Dr. Van Enk says the virus has been known for quite a while in Africa and now South America, but hasn't gotten much attention until now. Dr. Van Enk says the virus hasn't been very serious for those who get it, but as recent reports have shown, it can be devastating to unborn children.
- About 1 in 5 people infected with Zika virus become ill
- The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, or conjunctivitis (red eyes). Other common symptoms include muscle pain and headache. The incubation period (the time from exposure to symptoms) for Zika virus disease is not known, but is likely to be a few days to a week.
- The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week.
- People usually don’t get sick enough to go to the hospital, and they very rarely die of Zika.
- Zika virus usually remains in the blood of an infected person for about a week but it can be found longer in some people.
- There is no vaccine to prevent or specific medicine to treat Zika infections.
- Treat the symptoms:
- Get plenty of rest.
- Drink fluids to prevent dehydration.
- Take medicine such as acetaminophen (Tylenol®) to relieve fever and pain.
- Do not take aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
- If you are taking medicine for another medical condition, talk to your healthcare provider before taking additional medication.
- If you have Zika, prevent mosquito bites for the first week of your illness.
- During the first week of infection, Zika virus can be found in the blood and passed from an infected person to a mosquito through mosquito bites.
- An infected mosquito can then spread the virus to other people.
Is there a vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat Zika?
No. There is no vaccine to prevent infection or medicine to treat Zika.
I am pregnant. Should I travel to a country where cases of Zika have been reported?
Until more is known, CDC recommends special precautions for pregnant women and women trying to become pregnant:
- Pregnant women in any trimester should consider postponing travel to the areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing. Pregnant women who do travel to one of these areas should talk to their doctor or other healthcare provider first and strictly follow steps to avoid mosquito bites during the trip.
- Women trying to become pregnant or who are thinking about becoming pregnant should consult with their healthcare provider before traveling to these areas and strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during the trip.
Because specific areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing are difficult to determine and likely to change over time, CDC will update this travel notice as information becomes available. Check CDC’s Zika Travel Information website frequently for the most up-to-date recommendations.