Visitors to various countries in Central and South America and the Caribbean and precisely pregnant women have been asked to be more cautious following an outbreak of the mosquito-borne Zika virus. The warning from the U.S Centres for Disease Control and Prevention states that the virus associated with severe birth defects in babies is spreading rapidly. Hence, CDC has asked pregnant women who are still willing to travel to one of these areas to talk to their doctor or other health care providers first before embarking on their trip or better still consider a postponement.
Some of the countries under Zika virus alert according to CDC include Guatemala, Martinique, Colombia, French Guiana, El Salvador, Suriname, Haiti and Venezuela. In fact, the first case of Zika was reported in December 2015 which occurred in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
Past reports indicate that since October of 2015, there have been 3,500 cases of microcephaly, a condition whereby babies are born with small heads. The cases were reported during a three-month period and it is for this reason that CDC recommends strict precautions until health officials can ascertain whether or not the virus is liable for various birth defects in babies.
Nevertheless, even with all those precautions, the government is willing to broaden its strategies in fighting the virus. Currently, there is only one approach to fighting the virus, by the destruction of the mosquito’s breeding grounds. However, according to Health Minister Marcelo Castro, the war against this virus will only be worn through the development of vaccines for the disease.
And in support of the above, the government is willing to fund the research and development of the vaccine that biomedical research centre director, Jorge Kalil, says could take close to 3years. In the meantime, testing kits have been provided that will determine the existence of the virus in pregnant women.
But what symptoms should one look out in a case of Zika virus attack? According to the New York Times, some of the common symptoms include joint pain, fever, rash, and conjunctivitis. In fact, the symptoms are similar to those of Dengue and Chikungunya and last between a few days to a week.