Despite the Department of Health’s (DOH) claim that Philippines remains to be Zika-free, there’s no harm in equipping oneself with the basic knowledge (warning signs/symptoms, prevention tips, diagnosis, treatment) about the Zika virus. Stated below are DOH’s key facts about the Zika virus.
Zika virus infection is a mosquito-borne disease caused by a flavivirus. This occurs in tropical countries with large mosquito population.
- Zika virus is transmitted to people through the bite of an infected mosquito from the Aedes genus, mainly Aedes aegypti in urban areas and Aedes albopictus in rural areas.
- Aedes bite aggressively during the day.
- This is the same mosquito that transmits Dengue and Chikungunya.
- Zika virus can also be transmitted through sex carrying Zika virus unprotected.
- Zika virus has been detected in blood, urine, amniotic fluids, semen, saliva as well as body fluids found in the brain and spinal cord.
- Signs and Symptoms
- Common symptoms include fever, conjunctivitis, and skin rash.
- Other symptoms include headache, muscle pain, joint pain, pain behind the eyes, and vomiting.
- The illness is usually mild and self-limiting with symptoms lasting for 2-7 days.
- Neurological type of complication: Guillain-Barre’ syndrome which is the sudden weakening of muscles.
- Neonatal malformation: Microcephaly which is a condition where a baby’s head is smaller than those of other babies of the same age and sex.
- Prevention and Treatment
- Avoid infection by preventing mosquito bites.
- Use insect repellants.
- Use window and door screens.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants or permethrin-treated clothing.
- Once a week, empty and scrub, turn over, cover, or throw out items that hold water such as tires, buckets, planters, toys, or trash containers.
- People sick with Zika virus should get plenty of rest, drink enough fluids and treat pain and fever with common medicines.
- People with signs and symptoms of Zika virus infection should undergo diagnostic test (serology).
- If symptoms persists, they should seek medical care and advice immediately to the nearest health facility.
Department of Health. Zika Virus. Retrieved from http://www.doh.gov.ph/node/5628.