Nurse’s Notes: Getting to Know Zika Virus

Posted: January 28, 2016 in Nurse
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Not just because of the increasing cases of birth defects in Brazil and more reported cases of Zika virus infection among travelers coming from South America region, I became hyped to share this communicable disease. I was on my communicable disease topic for travellers and was thinking what to share next when the news about Zika hit few weeks ago.

What is Zika virus? How does it affect people, specifically pregnant women? What precautions are necessary to prevent its spread? I have done my recent researched and the following are what I have found;

Zika, Zika Virus, Zika Virus Disease

Transmission

Zika virus is spread through the bite of day- time active Aedes mosquitoes. The virus is known to be isolated in Uganda, but recently there are reported cases of Zika virus among travelers  coming from South America and the Caribbean.

According to World Health Organization, the first spread of Zika virus was known in the Pacific last 2007 and 2013. The Americas (Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia, Puerto Rico) have reported cases of Zika last December of 2015.

Signs and Symptoms

Zika virus emits similar clinical manifestations with Dengue and Chikungunya. However, common signs and symptoms of people who have acquired the Zika virus are mild fever, maculopapular skin rash, body malaise, muscle or joint paint, and usually with conjunctivitis. Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)/ WHO sometimes called the fever as Zika fever. One of four people may develop the signs and symptoms, and usually lasts for two to seven days.

The Brazilian Ministry of Health have confirmed relation of Zika virus to birth abnormalities (microcephaly) and brain damage. This prompt WHO to alert the public, specifically women (pregnant or wanted to be pregnant) of their travel plans to South America or the Caribbean.

Management

People who have developed clinical manifestations after being infected by Zika virus are subject to symptomatic management. This means that we treat only the signs and symptoms, not the cause. Rest, drink enough fluids, and treat pain and fever with common medicines are among the recommended management.There is no vaccine for Zika yet.

Center for Disease and Prevention Control (CDC), PAHO and WHO are strongly recommending prevention and protection control precautions to stop the Zika virus from spreading, and to eventually eliminate it.

For further information about Zika Virus, please visit CDC’s page.

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