Zika – the Challenge in 2016. : ThyBlackMan

Wednesday, August 21, 2019


Zika – the Challenge in 2016.

May 17, 2016 by  
Filed under Health, News, Opinion, Weekly Columns

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(ThyBlackMan.com) The Zika virus tops the news about infectious disease in 2016. In February, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) regarding Zika because of related birth defects.

The consequences of Zika are so severe for unborn babies that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced recently that pregnant women should not attend the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Zika is spreading rapidly throughout South and Central America, the Caribbean and the South Pacific, and Brazil is the country most impacted by the virus.

For adults, Zika symptoms are generally mild, but for the unborn fetus, the results are tragic. Microcephaly, a brain defect, can occur. Many Brazilian newborns were born with microcephaly over the past year. The baby’s head is much smaller at birth than normal andZIKA-2016 their brain may not develop fully or properly. There is no vaccine and no cure for microcephaly and the effects on health and quality of life can be severe.

Additional deficiencies seen in unborn babies with Zika include:

  • eye defects
  • hearing deficits
  • diminished growth
  • severe brain defects

Although the Zika virus is transmitted primarily through mosquito bites, it can also be spread through unprotected sex with an infected male. The best prevention method you can choose is to avoid mosquito bites while visiting any of the affected areas and after returning home from those areas, according to the CDC. A condom should be used for all sexual activity because the virus lasts longer in semen than it does in blood. Babies can be infected by their mothers who get Zika during pregnancy. Details are provided at www.cdc.gov/zika online.

WHO estimates that the Zika virus could impact 4 million people across Central and South America, the Caribbean, and the South Pacific by the end of 2016. As of May 11, over 500 cases of Zika have been reported in the U.S. The majority are travel-related.

Most infected people will not be sick enough to go to a hospital or to their own doctor. But the impact on a fetus can be powerful. Men and pregnant women should talk with their healthcare providers about sexual partners who may be infected, whether via travel or sexual activity. They may wish to be tested for other STDs if they have had unprotected sex. Free STD clinics throughout the U.S. offer testing for most STDs.

The virus features in infected adults may appear as fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes), according to the CDC. Muscle pain and headache might also be present. The CDC recommends rest, fluids to prevent dehydration and acetaminophen or paracetamol for pain and fever. If you have these symptoms while pregnant and fear you may have contracted Zika through sexual contact or a travel-related mosquito bite, talk to your healthcare provider to determine whether your fetus may be at risk.

Staff Writer; Charles Moore


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