The Zika Virus has been making headlines across the United States over the past few months and for good reason. Hundreds of cases have been reported in different towns and cities, leading each victim to suffer with the debilitating symptoms that come with the virus. New facts have emerged that can help you and your family stay safe. Here’s what you need to know.
There’s still no treatment for the virus, but there might be a vaccine on the way.
So far, no drug has been approved as a treatment for Zika. Researchers have yet to perform extensive research on the virus but so early studies revealed Zika could infect brain cells. This is where doctors discovered the link between the virus and microcephaly, a severe neurological birth defect. Adults who are infected with Zika suffer with a rash, red eyes, fever or join pain, and most doctors simply recommend Tylenol.
The National Institutes of Health are working to create a vaccine, which will enter a trial phase in September. The vaccine that’s currently in development was initially developed for West Nile but scientists are tweaking some of the essential elements of the drug to fight against Zika.
The Center for Disease Control has activated its Emergency Operation Center in response to the virus.
After Hurricane Katrina, the H1N1 flu outbreak and the Ebola crisis the CDC activated it’s Emergency Operations Center. These instances and the outbreak of the Zika Virus are the only occasions where this Center has been used. At the EOC in Atlanta, scientists closely monitor cases of the virus. In most cases they study pregnant women who have been infected with Zika. The studies at the Center have allowed the agency to send better testing tools to state laboratories across the country.
Some officials are warning couples to wait on trying to get pregnant.
Some countries in the Caribbean and Gulf area have been recommending that women wait before they decide to try to get pregnant. Officials in El Salvador told women throughout the country to wait two years before they start trying again. In Puerto Rico officials haven’t given women a time limit, but have told them to hold off for the time being. The CDC has yet to issue any similar advisories because at the moment in the United States women aren’t at such a high risk for infection.
The 2016 Olympics is the biggest concern for health officials at the moment.
The 2016 Summer Olympics will be kicking off this year in Brazil, where over 1,000 cases of microcephaly (a severe neurological birth defect) has been reported. Visitors are expected to pour in from countries all over the world; meaning Brazilian officials are scrambling to find a way to deal with the problem. Organizers are doing their best to prepare and are warning athletes to take all the proper precautions so they aren’t exposed. Some countries are doing their part to protect their athletes; South Korea is planning to create uniforms that come equipped with mosquito repellent for their athletes.