Friday, August 5, 2016

Zika in the news

Mosquitoes and Zika are much in the news-- until now it was an issue of 'should I travel to the Carribean'…however now the mosquito carrying the Zika virus is in a large neighborhood of Miami.               

The illness can be a prolonged one in both kids & adults, however 80% of those infected do not experience any symptoms.  Usually it's a flu-like illness that resolves in a few days.

Pregnant women are at the greatest risk.   Those infected have a fair chance of passing the virus to their unborn child.   Babies are born with microcephaly causing unusually small heads and poor brain development.  They can suffer a variety of health problems such as mental retardation, speech, growth and motor delays,  deafness, blindness and seizures.   The earliest that microcephaly has been detected in a fetus is mid to late into the second trimester of pregnancy but is more likely to be discovered in the third trimester.
The World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control recommend that women who are pregnant or planning to get pregnant delay travel to the areas that have the Zika carrying mosquito.   The travel alert now extends to Miami.

One fact often not discussed--men who are infected can carry the virus for an undetermined length of time--and can still infect their partner when the man isn't symptomatic. Therefore, we don't recommend travel to these areas for either spouse before a time when they may be planning a pregnancy.

Officials in Florida have found that the pesticides being used does not seem to have much impact.   If you are concerned whether you have Zika it can be detected thru blood testing if samples are taken during the first week of symptoms.  You can also detect past infection through a urine test. 

Until a vaccine is approved people are advised to use mosquito repellent containing at least 20% DEET (eg. Deep Woods Off) and avoid being outside at dusk or dawn when mosquitoes are their most active.   Wearing long sleeves and pants are also advisable.

Although there was a request for Congress to approve funding to find a vaccine, this was not passed.   Please consider contacting your senator and representative and request passage of this funding.    You may find your legislators’ phone numbers and/or email addresses at

For further information on the Zika virus, please visit the links posted below.

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