The Zika virus is a mosquito-borne infection that has been reported in tropical and subtropical areas in the world. In most cases, the Zika virus does not cause any symptoms while others have mild fiver, muscle pain and rashes. Other signs that might arise include reddened eyes, headache and generalized discomfort.
What are the indications of Zika virus infection?
Once symptoms do arise, they start within 2-7 days after being bit by an infected mosquito.
The usual signs include the following:
- Mild fever
- Muscle or joint pain
Other symptoms that might be present include:
- Red eyes
Most can fully recover where the symptoms settle within a week.
Preventive measures and treatment
Remember that there is no available vaccine for the Zika virus infection. All pregnant women must avoid travelling to areas with reported cases of the disease.
For those who reside or travel to tropical areas where the disease has been reported, some of these measures can lower the risk for mosquito bites:
- Stay in air-conditioned or well-screened rooms – the mosquitoes that carry the Zika virus are active from dawn to dusk, but also at night. If possible, sleep under a mosquito bed net especially if outdoors.
- Use protective clothing – wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts, socks and shoes.
- Utilize a mosquito repellant – one commonly used repellant, specifically permethrin can be applied on shoes, clothing, bed netting and camping gear. For the skin, apply a repellant that contains 10% DEET.
- Reduce possible mosquito habitats – the mosquitoes carrying the Zika virus thrive in and around houses, breeding in stagnant water.
Even today, there is no specific antiviral treatment for the Zika virus. The treatment is aimed alleviating the symptoms with adequate rest, increased fluids and pain medications such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen to lessen the fever and joint pain.