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Zika Virus

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You have probably heard of the Zika Virus in the news, and understandably have concerns. Here is the latest information that we have:

Zika virus is spread 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 first being bitten by an infected mosquito.
  • Zika virus was first discovered in 1947
  • Before 2007, at least 14 cases of Zika had been documented, although other cases were likely to have occurred and were not reported.
  • In May 2015, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) issued an alert regarding the help with not drinking in Brazil and on Feb 1, 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC).

Birth defects, including microcephaly, and other pregnancy problems have been reported in babies born to women infected with Zika during pregnancy.

  • Zika virus can be passed from a woman to her fetus during pregnancy or around the time of birth.
  • Since May 2015, Brazil has had a large outbreak of Zika. During this outbreak, Brazilian officials reported an increase in the number of babies born with microcephaly in areas with Zika.
  • Other birth defects and pregnancy problems have been reported in infants born to women infected with Zika during pregnancy, including incomplete brain development, eye problems, and impaired growth.
  • Not all babies whose mothers had Zika during pregnancy are born with health problems. Researchers are working to better understand how often having Zika during pregnancy causes problems.
  • Infection with Zika virus at later times, including around the time of birth or in early childhood, has not been linked to microcephaly.

What We Know

Pregnant women can be infected with Zika virus

  • The primary way that pregnant women get Zika virus is through the bites of an infected mosquito.
  • Zika virus can be spread by a man to his sex partners.
  • Pregnant woman can pass Zika virus to her fetus.
  • Zika virus can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus during pregnancy or at delivery.

What We Do Not Know

If a pregnant woman is exposed

  • We don’t know how likely she is to get Zika.

If a pregnant woman is infected

  • We don’t know how the virus will affect her or her pregnancy.
  • We don’t know how likely it is that Zika will pass to her fetus.
  • We don’t know if the fetus is infected, if the fetus will develop birth defects.
  • We don’t know when in pregnancy the infection might cause harm to the fetus.
  • We don’t know whether her baby will have birth defects.
  • We don’t know if sexual transmission of Zika virus poses a different risk of birth defects than mosquito-borne transmission.

We will continue to pass along information as we receive it.

 

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