The Zika virus has become synonymous with birth defects and gut-wrenching fear. Not a day goes by without more alarming information about this mosquito-borne disease. With information from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) we hope to keep you updated on this worldwide issue.
- Symptoms – 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.
- Statistics – There are currently (as of June 2016) 691 travel-associated cases reported. There are zero locally acquired vector-borne cases. There are 11 sexually transmitted cases and 2 Guillain-Barré syndrome cases. US territories such as US virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and America Samoa have the following statistics: Travel-associated cases reported: 4 , Locally acquired cases reported: 1,305 , and Guillain-Barré syndrome: 7.
- Infected Areas and Probable Areas The New York Times has used information gathered by the CDC and WHO to gain insight into the probably reach of the aggressive yellow fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti, that has spread most Zika cases. That mosquito is common in the United States only in Florida, along the Gulf Coast, and in Hawaii – although it has been found as far north as Washington, D.C., in hot weather.
- Transmission – The CDC and WHO has reported that the virus can and has been transmitted sexually between partners. They do, however, believe that the vast majority of Zika infections are transmitted by mosquitoes, not sex. The unknowns continue to be the answer to these questions. Can a woman pass the virus to a man through sex? Can it be passed through anal, oral or other forms of sexual contact? Does a man have to have blood in his semen to be infectious? Is it infectious before the blood appears? If there is no blood, must he have had symptoms of Zika infection, like fever and rash, to be contagious? How long does a man remain infectious?