The Zika virus was first discovered in the Zika Forest in Uganda in 1947. Since then, its spread has been isolated mostly to a narrow area around the equator in Africa and Asia. Recently, since 21015, the virus has spread across the Pacific Ocean to French Polynesia, Mexico, Central America, Caribbean islands, and South America. Zika is spread to people through mosquito bites and, as of today, the U.S. CDC confirmed that the virus can be sexually transmitted.

Individuals infected with the Zika virus experience fever, headache, rash, red eyes, and pain in the joints, muscles, and back of the eyes. There is no vaccine or cure for Zika. As of now, treatment focuses on the relief of symptoms including rest, fluids, and pain relievers.

The most disconcerting aspect of Zika is its association with birth defects. There seems to be a link between brain damage to babies born to mothers who were infected with Zika during pregnancy. These babies are born with smaller than average brains, a condition known as microcephaly.

As of now, the CDC is recommending that women who are pregnant or may become pregnant postpone travel to areas where the Zika virus is flourishing. If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant and are in or will be traveling to an area with Zika, talk with your doctor to determine the best course of action to avoid mosquito bites.


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