JAMA March 2016 summarized the recent emergent pandemic and how to prepare and protect yourself.
This virus was first described in 1947, in a rhesus monkey in the Zika Forest in Uganda.
We are now in the midst of a potentially explosive pandemic event affecting Africa, Southeast Asia, the Pacific islands, and the Americas.
The symptoms of Zika Virus are mild fatigue, muscle aches, and it passes usually within a week. In rare cases, patients can have more severe symptoms of muscle weakness associated with an autoimmune response called Guillain Barre.
The real concern is the transmission to pregnant women and the association with possible microcephaly (smaller than normal brain development) in the unborn child.
There is no commercially available test for Zika and no vaccine available, as of yet.
For now the best defense is preventative and protective measures against mosquito exposure:
- Avoid regions where the virus outbreak is greatest such as Puerto Rico and Brazil.
- Avoid still water where mosquito can breed.
- Use insect repellent when outdoors even during the day as these mosquitos bite during the day.