The Zika virus was first discovered about 70 years ago but didn’t make a splash until last year’s outbreak. Headline after headline pushed the virus to the forefront of the news cycle in 2016.
Mosquito season 2017 is approaching quickly, leading many of us to wonder if we should be concerned. Contracting the Zika virus comes with a handful of unpleasant symptoms, some being incredibly dangerous for pregnant women. So, how likely is it that you’ll contract Zika?
Check out the latest on Zika below.
Should I be Concerned About the Zika Virus?
Zika is among the same family as yellow fever, chikungunya, dengue and West Nile. There are no vaccines or medications to treat Zika, but with the right prevention methods in place, you can stay safe.
The symptoms of Zika are typically mild, but the virus is known to cause microcephaly, a neurological disorder that causes babies to be born with abnormally small heads. Severe development issues can result, and death occurs in some cases.
Will I Contract Zika?
The Aedes aegypti mosquito is the primary carrier of the virus. When the bug bites a person with an active infection and then goes on to bite another person the virus is spread. This type of mosquito is typically found in Central and South America. If none of the mosquitos in your area are infected, you are unlikely to encounter the disease.
Zika is also transmitted through sexual contact. If you or your partner travels to South America refrain from sexual activity for two months.
What are the Symptoms of Zika?
CDC studies show only about one in five people infected with Zika will become ill. The most common symptoms include joint pain, rash, fever, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The symptoms are mild for most and only last a few days. The virus rarely results in death or hospital visits. However, pregnant women can see long-lasting effects of Zika in their children. The virus has been linked to microcephaly and Gulliain-Barre, a syndrome where the immune system attacks the nerves.