Zika virus is transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes, the same type that carries yellow fever and dengue, and causes severe birth defects in newborn babies whose mothers got infected during pregnancy. Some domestic infections are sexually transmitted. Trying-to-conceive and pregnant women should for this reason seriously consider how they can prevent this infection. But other than prevention, there are many other things that you need to know about Zika virus to be on the safe side, and you will find then here.
Why is Zika Virus Dangerous?
Most people do not show signs of a Zika infection. But for a relatively few people who do, the illness is usually very mild, making it difficult to detect it. The ultimate effects in pregnant women can be incredibly devastating and can include a baby being born with a very small brain or head or loss of pregnancy. This first condition is known as microcephaly and is associated with seizures, mental retardation, developmental delays. Microcephaly can be fatal in some cases. Moreover, scientists have also linked this illness to hearing loss, impaired growth, and vision problems. A recent research has revealed that a Zika infection could also cause glaucoma in some infants.
What are its Symptoms?
The symptoms of a Zika infection may include low-grade fever, muscle and joint pain, rash, conductivities (pink eyes), vomiting, and headache. These symptoms often last for a few days to one week. One a small fraction of people infected with Zika virus will actually fall ill.
How to Test for this Virus
All pregnant mothers should be tested for Zika virus at their prenatal clinics. If you are one, your doctor will order urine or blood tests to find out if you are positive for Zika virus, especially if you are not showing symptoms but have been in an active area or could have been exposed to this dangerous virus through sexual contact. Newborn babies should also be tested if their mothers have visited an affected area or exhibits at least a few signs of this virus.
How do you reduce the Risk?
There is no vaccine for Zika virus currently. There are certain existing drugs that researchers from the National Institutes of Health, Johns Hopkins University, and Florida State University have discovered that may prevent this virus from replicating in the body. These drugs can also protect fetal cells from damage. There are reports that scientists have discovered an antibody that can fight the virus.
But until a drug is proven to be effective, it is advisable to reduce your chances of infection by staying current with the latest recommendations. Pregnant women should be cautious when it comes to having sex with partners who just arrived from a region affected by Zika. Avoid traveling to affected areas, but if that is impossible, take every precaution to avoid mosquito bites. Those who are trying to conceive should also take these precautions.
How Many Zika-infected Women have Babies with Birth Defects
Researchers are not sure the exact number of these births. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between one percent and 13 percent of pregnant women who get infected with this virus within the first trimester will have a fetus with microcephaly. A recent study in Brazil shows that problems could be more common. According to this study, 29 percent of fetuses from Zika-infected mothers had major problems. None of the fetuses from uninfected mothers has any defect.
Zika virus has the power to affect babies and pregnant women in scary ways. If you are a pregnant woman and or you are trying to conceive, follow these tips to prevent this dangerous disease.