Spring is on the way and soon it will be mosquito season. Last year we heard a lot about Zika virus.
The Utah Department of Health wants Utahns to know, it’s still a concern.
Dallin Peterson and Amy Steele shares more information about the Zika virus.
Zika Facts from the Utah Department of Health
Zika is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito, and continues to spread in multiple countries and territories and in the U.S. For the average American who is not traveling to an affected area, Zika virus infection isn’t a high risk.
- But for pregnant women, it can be very risky. Zika can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus. Infection during pregnancy can cause certain birth defects such as microcephaly (small head that is a sign of incomplete brain development) and other severe fetal brain defects including eye defects, hearing loss, and impaired growth. Zika virus can also be spread through sexual contact.
- Zika virus usually causes mild illness. People usually don’t get sick enough to go to the hospital, and they very rarely die of Zika. For this reason, many people might not realize they have been infected. Symptoms most commonly include a slight fever or rash, appearing a few days after a person is bitten by an infected mosquito. Although many people will not develop any symptoms at all, others may also suffer from conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, and feel tired. Symptoms usually last from 2 to 7 days.
- The Utah Department of Health continues to test for Zika virus because people are still traveling to areas where Zika virus is spreading. To date, almost 900 people have been tested; over half of those were in pregnant women. Twenty-nine cases of Zika virus have been confirmed in Utah; 11 of those occurred in pregnant women of which two infants had a fatal outcome.
Travelers going to an area where Zika virus transmission is ongoing can prevent infection by following these tips:
• Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
• Stay in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.
• Sleep under a mosquito bed net if you are overseas or outside and are not able to protect yourself from mosquito bites.
• Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents with at least 30% DEET. When used as directed, EPA-registered insect repellents are proven safe and effective, even for pregnant and breast-feeding women.
• Do not use repellents on children younger than two months of age.
• Do not use products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus on children younger than three years old.