News about Zika virus continues to unfold daily and is a growing concern for many. Dr. Clarence Blea, OB/GYN at St. Luke’s Maternal/Fetal Medicine, encourages people to follow updates from organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in order to know the latest news about the virus and to stay safe.
“This is a rapidly evolving and emotionally charged health issue involving the vulnerable unborn child,” said Dr. Blea. “Be assured that the CDC and the World Health Organization have the best technology and scientists working on a solution and answers to this problem. Until more information is available, it is best to remain calm and follow the advice of your provider who has the best tools and information currently available at their fingertips.”
Basic information about the virus is provided below. In addition, a webpage dedicated to Zika updates can be found at StLukesonline.org/zika and includes resources for providers and clinicians, and patients.
What is Zika virus?
Zika virus is a mosquito-borne virus that is primarily transmitted through the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms are typically mild and include fever, rash, joint pain, or conjunctivitis. Only one in five people with Zika virus have symptoms.
Who is most at risk for complications?
Pregnant women infected with Zika virus are most at risk because of a possible link to a birth defect known as microcephaly.
What can be done to prevent Zika virus?There is currently no vaccine or medication known to prevent or treat Zika virus. Women who are pregnant or who are trying to conceive should avoid travel to areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing.
Chereen Langrill was formerly a communications coordinator for St. Luke’s Health System.