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Zika Virus: How to #BeSafe

Zika virusIt’s amazing that a tiny insect could cause such large scale problems as the mosquito. As tiny as it is, a mosquito’s bite can lead to serious health conditions…from Malaria to Dengue Fever, Filariasis, West Nile virusChikungunyaYellow Fever, several strains of Encephalitis and, most recently, Zika virus.

According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), about one in five people infected with the Zika virus become ill. The most common symptoms include fever, rash, joint pain, or conjunctivitis. Other common symptoms include muscle pain and headache.

Although the incubation period for Zika virus disease is unknown, it is likely to be similar to other mosquito-borne illnesses, which range from a few days to a week. Once contracted, the illness is usually mild, with symptoms lasting for several days to a week. While people do not typically get sick enough with Zika to warrant hospitalization, and deaths are rare, the virus remains in the blood of infected people for at least one week.Zika Virus

Unfortunately, the virus poses a particular risk to pregnant women, as it can be transmitted from a pregnant mother to her baby during pregnancy or around the time of birth. Studies are focusing on how some mothers pass the virus to their babies. For this reason, President Obama has asked congress to approve $1.8 billion in emergency funding to combat the Zika virus, because of its link to birth defects. The course of action he and his staff would like to pursue include mosquito-control programs and birth-defect surveillance.

Allied Universal Zika 3

Image Courtesy of the CDC

Serious birth defects of the brain called microcephaly (when a baby’s head is smaller than expected when compared to babies of the same sex and age) and other poor pregnancy outcomes in babies of mothers who were infected with Zika virus while pregnant have been reported by the CDC. Knowledge of the link between Zika and these outcomes is evolving, but until more is known, special precautions should be taken by anyone who is pregnant or is planning to become pregnant.

Prior to 2015, Zika virus outbreaks have occurred in areas of Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands. In May 2015, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) issued an alert regarding the first confirmed Zika virus infections in Brazil. Currently, outbreaks are occurring in many countries, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands. Left unchecked, the Zika virus will continue to spread and it could become difficult to determine how the virus will spread over time.

Info-graphic Courtesy of the CDC.

Info-graphic Courtesy of the CDC.

Although no vaccine currently exists to treat or prevent Zika, associated symptoms can be treated with rest, hydration, over-the-counter medications to relieve fever and pain, avoidance of aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and care to avoid additional mosquito bites during the first week of 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 could then spread the virus to additional people.Stay in places with air conditioning or door screens that keep mosquitoes outside.

Remember that safety is a daily priority, not just where mosquitos are concerned. So be sure to think about ways to #BeSafe all of the time. A convenient and affordable way to make sure you are prepared for disasters and emergencies of virtually every kind is to subscribe to the Allied Universal Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services, which has been designed to help improve and save lives. For more information about the best system out there, or to subscribe, click here.

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