What you need to know about Zika virus


NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – Eight things you need to know about Zika virus.

Should pregnant women consider postponing trips to countries with Zika as recommended by the CDC.

Dr. Zane Saul, Chief of Infectious Diseases at Bridgeport Hospital says yes, because there is no guaranteed prevention. He stresses, if you are pregnant or planning on being pregnant and have to travel to the infected countries, consult your doctor and avoid mosquito bites as much as possible.

What about protection?

He says there are EPA approved mosquito repellents specifically for pregnant women. Wear head to toe clothing. Stay in air-conditioned areas. Avoid the outdoors at dusk/dawn.

Symptoms?

Dr. Saul says one in five people infected will come down with mild symptoms which can last up to a week. Symptoms are: fever, rash, muscle ache, and conjunctivitis (red eye).

Treatment and vaccine?

There is no treatment and no vaccine, says Dr. Saul.

Can it be transmitted human to human?

Dr. Saul says no, you can only get it if you are bitten by an infected mosquito.

Who is most at risk for Zika?

He says it poses the most risk for pregnant women, linked to the increasing number of babies born with microcephaly. A smaller than normal head due to the brain not developing properly.

What about other potential health risks?

Zika is also linked to Guillain-Barre syndrome- which can cause temporary paralysis.

Possibility of an outbreak here?

Dr. Saul, like most health experts, including the head of the CDC says the risk of a Zika outbreak in the U.S. is small due to the climate, where controlling the mosquito population is easier and the availability of air-conditioning. All the cases in the U.S. have been reported in people who have traveled to the infected countries.

The Connecticut Department of Public Health says so far no cases of Zika reported in our state. And the type of mosquito mostly responsible for transmitting Zika virus is not found in Connecticut.

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