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Zika Virus 


Zika virus disease (Zika) is a disease caused by the Zika virus, which 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 after being bitten by an infected mosquito. People usually don’t get sick enough to go to the hospital, and they very rarely die of Zika. For this reason, many people might not realize they have been infected. However, Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause a serious birth defect called microcephaly, as well as other severe fetal brain defects. Once a person has been infected, he or she is likely to be protected from future infections.

Zika virus was first discovered in 1947 and is named after the Zika Forest in Uganda. In 1952, the first human cases of Zika were detected and since then, outbreaks of Zika have been reported in tropical Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands. Zika outbreaks have probably occurred in many locations. Before 2007, at least 14 cases of Zika had been documented, although other cases were likely to have occurred and were not reported. Because the symptoms of Zika are similar to those of many other diseases, many cases may not have been recognized.

In May 2015, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) issued an alert regarding the first confirmed Zika virus infection in Brazil. On February 1, 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Zika virus a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). Local transmission has been reported in many other countries and territories. Zika virus will likely continue to spread to new areas.

10 things Oregonians should know about Zika

  1. Zika is primarily mosquito-borne. It can also be sexually transmitted from men who develop Zika symptoms. 
  2. Two types of mosquitoes are known to spread Zika virus; neither is found in Oregon.
  3. Symptoms of Zika include fever, rash, joint pain and redness of the eyes, although most infected people experience no symptoms.
  4. Zika symptoms are usually mild in children and adults, and serious illness requiring hospitalization is uncommon.
  5. Zika infection can cause birth defects, including microcephaly, when mothers are infected during pregnancy. The full range of birth defects caused by Zika is currently under investigation.
  6. A handful of Zika cases have occurred in Oregon in recent years; all were associated with travel to areas with active Zika transmission.
  7. There is no treatment or vaccine for Zika, but it can be prevented by using insect repellent, protecting your skin from mosquito bites, and avoiding unprotected sex with men infected with the virus.
  8. The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) is working with local county health departments and Oregon health care providers to identify and test appropriate persons for Zika virus.
  9. Public Health can arrange Zika testing for patients with certain symptoms and recent travel to affected areas, and for pregnant women without symptoms who traveled to Zika-affected areas any time during pregnancy.
  10. The CDC recommends pregnant women postpone travel to areas where Zika is circulating; men who have recently traveled to a Zika-affected region and who have a pregnant partner should avoid unprotected sex for the duration of the pregnancy.

More Zika Virus Information from the Oregon Health Authority
Zika Virus Information for Travelers

Posted by olsonj On 29 April, 2016 at 1:09 PM  105 Comments

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