Zika Virus Information

Several W&J community members have made inquiries regarding information about Zika virus.  Student Health Services can assist with additional information.  The following information may answer some questions regarding transmission, risks, and prevention.

What is Zika?

Zika is a disease caused by Zika virus that is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected   Aedes   species mosquito. The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week.   People usually don’t get sick enough to go to the hospital, and they very rarely die of Zika.

At a Glance - Zika in the U.S. (as of Feb 3, 2016)

  • A total of 35 travel-associated Zika virus disease cases have been reported to CDC from U.S. states.
  • No locally acquired vector-borne cases have been reported from the continental United States.
  • Nine locally acquired cases and 1 travel-associated case have been reported to CDC from U.S. territories, including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Symptoms

  • About 1 in 5 people infected with Zika virus become ill (i.e., develop Zika).
  • The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, or conjunctivitis (red eyes). Other common symptoms include muscle pain and headache. The incubation period (the time from exposure to symptoms) for Zika virus disease is not known, but is likely to be a few days to a week.
  • The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week.
  • People usually don’t get sick enough to go to the hospital, and they very rarely die of Zika.
  • Zika virus usually remains in the blood of an infected person for about a week but it can be found longer in some people.

Testing

The CDC and PA Department of Health have both reported that there is not yet a commercially available test for the ZIKA virus.  If a person has two or more of the symptoms AND has possibly been in an area where they have been exposed to Zika within the last 14 days, a person can be referred to a hospital for testing.  The hospitals have specific directions for the testing and the testing is sent to the CDC.  If you wish to read more about the testing, click here http://www.cdc.gov/zika/hc-providers/diagnostic.html .  If a person is not symptomatic, no testing can be done.

Transmission

The Zika virus may be spread through mosquito bites, from mother to child during pregnancy or delivery, through infected blood and sexual contact.  More research is ongoing regarding communicability.

Treatment

  • There is no vaccine to prevent or specific medicine to treat Zika infections.
  • To treat the symptoms:
    • Get plenty of rest.
    • Drink fluids to prevent dehydration.
    • Take medicine such as acetaminophen (Tylenol®) to relieve fever and pain.
    • Do not take aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
    • If you are taking medicine for another medical condition, talk to your healthcare provider before taking additional medication.
  • If you have Zika,   prevent mosquito bites   for the first week of your 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 can then spread the virus to other people.

Pregnancy

Women who are pregnant or plan to become pregnant very soon, and who have traveled in an area with active Zika infections in the population, should seek a consultation with their physician.

 

“Was my intersession trip or personal travel in an area with active transmission?”  The map found at this link shows current areas of active transmission of Zika virus. http://www.cdc.gov/zika/geo/index.html

Prevention

Will you be traveling to an area with active Zika in the near future?  View this infographic from the CDC for advice on prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/chikungunya/pdfs/fs_mosquito_bite_prevention_travelers.pdf

And this one http://www.cdc.gov/chikungunya/pdfs/fs_mosquito_bite_prevention_us.pdf

 

If you have further questions, please stop by Student Health and Counseling Services