The Zika virus may not be in the news as often as it was a few years ago, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less dangerous. Ever since the virus became an epidemic in 2015, and especially since pregnant women were warned not to travel to influenced countries, the virus has continued to hold strong. Here are all the latest 2018 Zika virus updates.
For some brief background, Zika is a “disease caused by a virus that is primarily spread to persons through the bite of an infected mosquito,” as explained by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Symptoms are typically mild and usually go away in about a week, and they include a fever with rash, joint pain, or reddish eyes. However, many persons who have Zika do not have symptoms and therefore never even realize they have the disease. While the disease does not have serious effects on the average citizen, its effects can be detrimental for pregnant women and their fetuses.
Back in January 2016, the CDC issued a travel warning to United States residents who also were pregnant or trying to get pregnant, because getting the Zika contamination during pregnancy can cause your baby to have serious birth defects. The CDC recommended that expectant mothers avoid a number of countries where in fact the virus was prevalent, including a number of countries in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Central America, the Pacific Islands, and SOUTH USA, as observed by the CDC. The only nation in THE UNITED STATES that women that are pregnant and couples looking to get pregnant presently have to avoid is Mexico.
Previously, several regions in the usa were deemed unsafe for women that are pregnant to go to, including Miami-Dade County in Florida. In 2017 June, the CDC lifted the warnings in the Miami region.
The CDC also notes that some places that were previously unsafe are now all clear, including the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands, Cook Islands, Marshall Islands, Martinique, Saint Barthélemy, and Vanuatu.
In addition to avoiding influenced areas, the CDC still recommends that those who live in influenced areas take all possible precautions to avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes, including covering skin with long clothes, wearing insect repellent, and sleeping with mosquito nets.
In addition to being passed through mosquitoes, the Zika virus can also be passed through sex, meaning you should always use protection if you or your partner has traveled to an damaged nation in the last half a year. And, of training course, a pregnant girl can move the Zika virus to her fetus, that may cause microcephaly then, clarifies the CDC. Microcephaly is normally a birth defect that affects the brain, causing babies to have smaller brains and heads than most other children their age. Babies with microcephaly can also experience developmental delay, seizures, intellectual disability, issues with movement and balance, various feeding issues, hearing loss, and vision defects.
Dr. Paul Mead, who studies the Zika virus and similarly-transmitted diseases for the CDC, told TIME last month that travelers should definitely still heed the CDC’s guidelines, although Zika threat is leaner even.
Mead also co-authored a recently available research – published in the brand new England Journal of Medication and funded by the CDC – that investigated reviews that the Zika virus could possibly be sexually transmitted. The scholarly research utilized multiple semen and urine samples from a lot more than 180 men, and researchers discovered that Zika didn’t persist in semen for provided that professionals previously thought. Dr. Mead told TIME that the CDC plans to evaluate the study, and probably reduce the amount of time that sexually active individuals who have traveled to influenced countries need to use protection to make sure they do not spread the disease. That time frame is currently six months.
Additionally, scientists are trying to develop a Zika virus vaccine, which would be a huge game-changer. Nevertheless, the trials are increasing ethical concerns, as researchers would have to infect people with the disease to test the vaccine’s efficacy, according to the New York Times.
So while the Zika virus is still a very severe issue, namely for pregnant women, it’s great that so many scientists are hard at work to eventually eradicate the disease.